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.
2 thoughts on “Pro-Test Italia Stand Strong for Research”
I have not read all of this blog so perhaps I missed it but I have never seen a defence of the use of non-human animals in research which admitted that some experimental uses are unjustified or that experimental conditions should be improved. If the use of non-human animals is crucial (and I am in no position to say it is not) and we conclude that use is justified, we ought to do everything possible to minimise suffering and to ensure that subjects enjoy a pleasant retirement where this is possible. Moreover, I would like to see advocates of the use of non-human animals in research condemn all use in the testing of new cosmetic, household and industrial products, the practice of euthanising subjects who are no longer considered useful, and the abuse of non-human animals in food production. I would then be much more inclined to believe that advocates really are serious about developing alternative testing methods, using existing alternatives whenever possible, and minimising suffering when the use of non-human animals cannot be avoided. Until I see advocates making that sort of case, I find it difficult to be persuaded of the depth of their concern. I do not mean that I doubt their sincerity. I do not. What I doubt is their commitment to reducing the suffering of non-human subjects in research. I doubt, in fact, that they really value the contribution non-human subjects make.
Moreover, one has to ask: if the only way to find a cure was to experiment on brain-damaged human beings, would that justify doing so?
The idea of minimising suffering is at the heart of the laws on animal research. Within the new EU Directive 63/2010/EU (which Pro-Test Italia supports) is the principle of the 3Rs – Refinement, Replacement and Reduction of animals in research. Within the concept of Refinement is reducing suffering of animals through better experimental design, better training for scientists, better use of anaesthetics and analgesics etc.
Similarly, the EU has passed laws banning the use of animals in cosmetic research, or even the import of cosmetics which have been tested on animals. I’m not sure on the state of household product testing in Italy (none has been done in the UK for two years), Industrial testing can be important for environmental reasons, otherwise you risk DDT-style disasters (which still continues to kill wildlife).
Animal welfare has been improving in labs for many decades, and I don’t see this trend changing any time soon. I think scientists and animal lab technicians are pleased with this process. Read more:
Comments are closed.