At 3pm the organisers of Pro-Test Italia arrived outside the Italian parliament building in Rome. Banners were unfurled, and balloons were blown up in preparation of the many scientists and students who would be attending the second ever Pro-Test Italia demonstration.
By 3.30pm, around 500 people had gathered to show their support for lifesaving animal research, and to reject the activities of animal rights extremists, who have been damaging research in Italy.
The speaker list included politicians from almost every major political party including:
- Dr Ilaria Capua, a deputy in the Civic Choice party (Scelta Civica)
- On. Pia Locatelli, a senator with the Italian Socialist Party (PSI)
- On. Carlo Giovanardi, a senator with the People of Freedom Party (PDL)
- On. Emilia Grazia De Biasi, a senator with the Democratic Party (PD)
- Dr Ezio Bussoletti, a senator with the Stop the Decline Party (Fare per Fermare il Declino)
It was great to see people cheering for all politicians, whether they were from a political party people supported or not. The key fact was that all these politicians were taking the time to make a stand in defence of research.
Further speeches were made by individuals who had previously spoken at the first Pro-Test Italia rally, including Dr Alessandro Papale, Dr Nadia Malavasi and Dr Giuliano Grignaschi. Once again, these speakers were able to rile up the crowd with their powerful messages of science.
There were also many new faces making an appearance to explain the importance of animal research to medical progress.
- Kirk Leech, Interim Director of the European Animal Research Campaigns Centre
- Dr Elizabeth Dejana, Director of vascular biology at the IFOM laboratory
- Dr Michele Cilli, Chief Veterinarian at the San Martino National Cancer Research Center
- Dr Lucio Pastore, Group Leader at CEINGE-Biotecnologie Avanzate
- Prof Gilberto Corbellini, Mina Welby and Avv. Filomena Gallo. all from the Luca Coscioni Association,
The event was closed by Daria Giovannoni, President of Pro-Test Italia, who appealed to the Health Minister, Beatrice Lorenzin, saying that we cannot currently continue medical research without animals. The crowd then released their balloons all at once to symbolise what would happen to research if the new laws stands – it would simply float away to other countries (some of whom have lower standards of animal welfare).
Once again Pro-Test Italia made their voice heard, as shown by their front page coverage in La Stampa, and we wish them the best of luck in changing the tide of the animal research debate in Italy.