Defending Animal Research

Italian students and scientists rallied in Milan in support of using animals for science.

By | June 4, 2013

Pro-Test Italia demonstrating in Milan on Saturday (June 1)

Pro-Test Italia demonstrating in Milan on Saturday (June 1)


Defending Animal Research Image Gallery

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. 

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Avatar of: DeepBlueSci


Posts: 5

June 4, 2013

It's great to see so many young scientists and students taking to the street to defend the future of science and medical research in Italy. The rest of the Italian scientific community can learn a lot from Pro-Test Italia.

There is a more detailed report on Saturday's rally - with photos of the crowd and many of the speakers - on the speaking of Research blog

It's not just animal rights extremists who are causing problems in Italy though, recently the country has suffered from a series of anti-scientific debacles, from dodgy stem cell therapies to vaccine scare stories to chemtrail conspiracy theories.  In all this the Italian media has failed to present the real science to the public, while many politicians have chosen to ally themselves with ill-informed populist anti-science campaigns.

This Saturday, 8 June, young science advocates are holding a series of events across Italy to counter the tide of misinformation and distortion that is threatning the future of science in Italy, and indeed the countries future prosperity. You can find out more about these events on the "Italy United for Science" website at

Avatar of: Kathy Barker

Kathy Barker

Posts: 44

June 4, 2013

Being against animal research is not necessarily being against science or medical research.

If activists hadn't protested a couple of decades against true cruelties going on in labs, investigators might still be pinning down mice on boards and eviscerating them without any anesthesis, and things more horrible to describe.

Rather than looking down at animal rights activists, scientists might want to consider acting like fellow citizens who don't consider animals to be exactly like disposable test tubes. It is thinking such as this that puts a gulf between scientists and other people. 

Many scientsts have pets of their own, and probably don't want them kept in a cage, suffering from excruciating boredom as the least of the issues. Have some empathy for animal activists, and truly consider that there may other ways  (and other reasons) not to use animals as models for people.

Scientists can chose on what and in which way they will work. It is a shame they follow blindly in the scientific culture's dismissal of animal activists.




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