Italian Researchers Threatened by Extremists

Italian research is in danger. Not only because of those seeking to twist the new EU Directive 60/3010/EU to their own agenda, but also because of a rise in extremism directed at the researchers themselves. Most recently, posters have appeared on the streets of Milan targeting specific scientists.

It would appear that animal rights groups in Italy are getting bolder. Rather than engage in reasoned debate, they would rather scare researchers who were beginning to find their collective voice.

As several Italian newspapers reported, these posters provide personal information about researchers, including their names, home addresses and home telephone numbers, inviting the public to call them at home to protest their research. Furthermore, the walls near the victims’ homes have been covered with insults by extremists.

The researchers in question are Alberto Corsini and Edgardo D’Angelo, both Professors at the University of Milan where hey both do research using animal models. Professor Corsini studies vascular diseases while Prof. D’Angelo studies physiology of respiration – both areas of utmost importance to human health.

They are not the only scientists under fire. Maura Francolini, researcher at the University of Milan, and Claudio Genchi, Professor at the faculty of veterinary at the University of Milan have received similar harassment.

Edgardo D’Angelo, vivisector, animal assassin, he is your neighbour, he lives in *address* For over 50 years he has killed and tortured dogs, rabbits and other animals for experiments about respiratory physiopathology. Shame on you, assassin! Call the killer and let him know what you think about him *number*


Translation

Edgardo D’Angelo, vivisector, animal assassin, he is your neighbour, he lives in *address*
For over 50 years he has killed and tortured dogs, rabbits and other animals for experiments about respiratory physiopathology. Shame on you, assassin!

Call the killer and let him know what you think about him *number*

Alberto Corsini, vivisector, animal assassin, he is your neighbour, he lives at *address* For more than 30 years he has killed and tortured animals for the department of Pharmacology at the University of Milan. In one of his latest experiments he intoxicated with drugs and vivisected 63 rabbits. Shame on you, assassin!  Call the killer and let him know what you think about him *number*

Translation
Alberto Corsini, vivisector, animal assassin, he is your neighbour, he lives at *address*
For more than 30 years he has killed and tortured animals for the department of Pharmacology at the University of Milan. In one of his latest experiments he intoxicated with drugs and vivisected 63 rabbits. Shame on you, assassin!

Call the killer and let him know what you think about him *number*

Urging activists to call and harass scientists is a classic extremist tactic, during the 1990-2000s, many executives at Huntingdon Life Sciences received night time phone calls (as well as “visits”) in an effort to cow them into submission. More recently, Negotiation is Over (which itself is now “over”), posted the phone number of Prof O’Leary in Marino’s campaign against him. One hopes that the Italian posters won’t be followed by more extreme actions, as they were in Santa Cruz in 2008 when a researcher’s house was firebombed only days after posters appeared in a local coffee shop.

Thankfully, the Italian researchers have been supported by the Minister of Education, University and Research, Maria Chiara Carrozza and the University of Milan, through the Dean, Gianluca Vago. The Dean also confirmed the efforts of the university to stand up for animal research and the people working with animals, reminding people that the University itself has been in the firing line when animal rights extremists broke into the animal facility and took 100 mice and 1 rabbit from the animal facility.

Translation
I wish to express my deepest sympathy with #MIUR researchers at the University of Milan for the intimidation and threats they suffered

Deputy Maria Pia Locatelli declared at the Chamber of Deputies, that aggressions and intimidations from animal activists towards science are almost becoming a habit and that all politicians should condemn these actions, even the ones that always defended animal rights in the parliament. Senator Carlo Giovanardi has also stated his support in parliament for the researchers and has demanded those responsible for the postings be found as soon as possible. In fact, DIGOS, an italian law enforcement agency that usually investigates also in terrorism cases, will examine this action.

This new activities is the latest in a growing line of actions by activists. A few weeks ago Caterina Simonsen, an Italian veterinary student whose own illnesses mean she requires medical interventions to breathe, stood up for animal research with a picture and statement supporting animal research. In response, activists attacked her on Facebook posting insults and death threats and informing her that her life was “worth nothing”. Fortunately, after this miserable attack, Caterina got the support of several politicians and celebrities.

While extremists in Italy continue to take steps which prevent open dialogue on this issue, it will not be possible to have the reasoned discussion necessary for people to understand the arguments on both sides. Pro-Test Italia has held public meetings in order to help educate the public on this issue, and we welcome their crucial efforts.  We condemn those that threaten and harass scientists and members of the public, and we urge everyone to stand up and reject such activities. Animal research remains important to those in Italy and beyond, and we must continue to make the strong case for its continuance.

Claudia

2 responses to “Italian Researchers Threatened by Extremists

  1. This turn of events is less about anti-animal research/science “activists” getting “bolder” and more about them becoming increasingly fanatical, extremist and uncivil. Italy is experiencing much the same trend as in Los Angeles California. When these extremists find that their basic message (about the ethics and science of animal research) fails to persuade the general public, they turn to ad hominem and personal attacks: the refuge of the coward. They are the opposite of “bold”; indeed, there is no decency or courage in their dark of night postings and anonymous death threats whatsoever.