Three hundred supporters of animal testing gathered in Milan to promote scientific research on Saturday (June 1), Nature reported. The rally comes after animal rights activists broke into a University of Milan lab where rabbits and mice were kept in April and destroyed years’ worth of work.
The protest, held by the group Pro-Test Italia, emphasized the importance of greater public awareness about the benefits and conditions of animal research. “I hope that, starting from today, public opinion understands who lies, because we are not assassins,” Gaia Gobbo, a graduate student in biotechnology at the University of Bologna, told Nature.
Speakers explained the uses of animal research, while a group of about 30 animal-rights demonstrators counter-protested the event.
The original Pro-Test group formed in the United Kingdom in 2006 in response to animal-rights protesters there. Pro-Test Italia was formed in September 2012 in response to a break-in at a dog-breeding facility in Brescia, Italy, in July by the same group of protesters who would later trash the University of Milan lab.