3,000 Italian Researchers say no to law limiting animal research
More than three thousand researchers have signed an open appeal to the Italian Government, requesting changes in the way the EU 2010/63 Directive on animal research is being implemented in their country. The scientific community are asking for the removal of several provisions that threaten the ability to do research, and want the Italian implementation of this law to be re-aligned with its original aims.
This is the very first mass movement of the scientific community in the fight over how EU directive 2010/63 is implemented, and it comes at a critical time.
On 31st July, the Italian Parliament gave final approval to the implementation of the animal research directive (EU 2010/63). In its current form this new law has the potential to bring research in Italy on a number of diseases, including cancer, to a halt. The scientific community has criticised the law in its current form and highlighted the risks to research associated with them.
The battle in Italy over the implementation of the 2010/63 Directive has until now seen an animal rights position prevail. Despite the efforts of scientists over the last two years, and the indefatigable work of Pro-Test Italia, the implementation of the Directive as currently phrased is an outright threat to research.
If the implementation were to remain as currently drafted it would:
- ban the breeding in Italy of research animals (dogs, cats, primates), leading to cross-national purchases and much travel-induced stress
- prohibit xeno-transplants, of even small amounts of tissue, halting much cancer research
- put a stop to the use of animals in addiction research
- worsen the welfare of animals, by imposing analgesia/anaesthesia for every pain-inducing procedure, including ones as mild as blood sampling
Very little time remains to steer this legislation back on track. The process is now in the hands of the Government, which is tasked with drafting the practical guidance that arises from the legislation. At this stage the law can still be amended, given suitable political will. But researchers are well aware that such changes will only occur by maintaining pressure on the politicians, not least by communicating about animal research.
The next step in the scientists campaign will be a public demonstration scheduled for 19th September in Rome. See here for more details.