I have written earlier about the peril that Italian Biomedical research finds itself in, due to extreme, immoderate and unreasonable restrictions on animal experimentation that the Italian Parliament approved recently. Via a missive from the Basel Declaration society (Disclaimer: I am an individual signatory to and supporter of the Basel Declaration), I learnt this morning about a PETITION (in Italian, and in English) that several prominent Italian Biomedical Scientists have launched, directed at European Commission officials and copied to several relevant ministers in Italy.
I am including here the text of the English version of the petition. Please read, support and share it. The place to put your name, email, and optionally, location and degree, is to the right side of the petition text (see the petition page link above). The field-names are unfortunately written in Italian even in the English page, but they are not difficult to understand. Upon signing the petition, you’d receive an email with a validation link which you must remember to click in order for your signature to be registered.
Please stand with these scientists for the sake of not only saving Italian scientific research, but also maintaining the integrity and continuity of biological research as a whole throughout the world.
Dr. Janez Potočnik
European Commissioner for the Environment
Directorate General for the Environment
Dr. Susanna Louhimies
Policy Officer- Use of animals for scientific purposes
Directorate General for the Environment
B- 1049 Bruxelles
Minister of Health of Italy
On. Beatrice Lorenzini
Minister of EU Affairs of Italy
On. Enzo Moavero Milanesi
Minister of the University and Scientific Research of Italy
On. Maria Chiara Carrozza
Subject: Implementation in Italy of EU Directive 63-2010 on the protection of animals used for scientific research in Italy. Art. 13, Law n. 96/2013.
Dear Dr. Potočnik:
We are writing to share our concerns on the criteria approved by the Italian Parliament concerning the implementation of the European Directive 2010/63 on the protection of laboratory animals in Italy.
As a scientific community we have approved and supported the decision to generate an harmonized approach shared by the whole Community. The European discussion has lasted almost a decade and has led to a well-balanced compromise between the demands of animal welfare and the interests of research.
This well balanced compromise has been challenged by the Italian Parliament with
severe risks for the future of biomedical research in the country.
We ask you to help re-balance the discussion by warning the Italian Government that the Parliament has approved decisions is in violation of art. 2 of Directive EU 63-2010. If transformed into a legislative decree by the Government, those decisions will make the Italian law much more severe and restrictive than the EU Directive.
Specifically we ask you to convince the Italian Government to implement in Italy the EU Directive 63-2010 as the UE Parliament and Commission have licensed it. This will require the rejection of the Art. 13 of the national law of implementation of the EU Directives for 2013 (Legge di delegazione europea 2013, n. 96, published in the Gazzetta Ufficiale, Serie generale n. 194, 20/08/2013, into force since 04/09/2013).
The different paragraphs of art. 13 of the above mentioned law contains a severe limitation to the use of cats, dogs and non-human primates for basic research, limitations in the re-use of animals of any nature previously employed in procedures classified as of “moderate” severity, prohibition of research on non-anaesthetized animals, limitation in the use of genetically modified animals, a ban of animal experiments on xenotransplantation and drug addiction, a ban of animal breeding centers in the national territory.
We trust that the strict control and ethical review mechanisms proposed by the EU Directive are the most effective mechanisms to prevent unnecessary and unjustified pain and suffering for animals. The Italian scientific community is very supportive of this strict review process but opposes any total bans, as fully inappropriate to regulate the complexity of biomedical research, and liable to damage it severely without adding significant benefits to animal welfare.
In the interest of biomedical research in Italy, we ask you to follow our recommendations and help us obtain a new and well balanced Italian animal welfare legislation, in line with the European directive.
Fabio Benfenati, Professor of Physiology, University of Genova
Giovanni Berlucchi, Professor Emeritus of Physiology, University of Verona
Roberto Caminiti, Professor of Physiology, University of Rome SAPIENZA, Chair, Committee of Animals in Research (CARE), Federation of the European Neuroscience Societies (FENS)
Enrico Cherubini, Professor of Physiology, SISSA, Trieste, President of the Italian Society of Neuroscience (SINS)
Francesco Clementi, Professor Emeritus of Pharmacology, University of Milan, and National Council of Research, Milan
Gaetano Di Chiara, Professor of Pharmacology, University of Cagliari
Silvio Garattini, Director, Institute for Pharmacological Research Mario Negri, Milan
Jacopo Meldolesi, Professor Emeritus of Pharmacology, University Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan, past President of the Italian Federation of Life Sciences
Giacomo Rizzolatti, Professor Emeritus of Physiology, University of Parma
Carlo Reggiani, Professor of Physiology, University of Padua, President of the Italian Physiological Society
Piergiorgio Strata, Professor Emeritus of Physiology, University of Turin