An open letter asks politics for answers on the topics of animal testing

An open letter asks politics for answers on the topics of animal testing

Promoted by Research4Life, and supported by numerous universities, institutions and scientific foundations, it asks the highest authorities of the country to overcome the limitations linked to the bans on animal experimentation that harm Italian researchers in comparison with EU colleagues

(photo : Getty Images) Federations, foundations and scientific societies, universities and Irccs: the panorama of the signatories of an open letter sent to the highest offices of the State to "ask for answers for research" is varied and includes, among others, the Airc Foundation, Farmindustria, Assobiotec, Luca Coscioni Association, Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa. To promote it, Research4Life, the project born in 2015 that gathers and gives voice to the representatives of Italian biomedical research.

To stimulate the letter, as explained in recent days by Research4Life itself, the non-admission of two amendments to the design of the Budget Law for 2021. The aim of the amendments was to correct the “distortions present in Legislative Decree no. 26 of 2014 ": the reference goes to the legislative decree which establishes the measures relating to the protection of animals used for scientific or educational purposes, and which implements the 2010 EU directive on the matter.

According to the EU Commission, however , Directive 2010/63 into Italian law had not been correctly transposed and hence the start of an infringement procedure (n. 2016/2013) for violation of EU law.

Application of the bans envisaged on some testing procedures that provide for the use of animals for research (in particular, xenon transplants and on substances of abuse) was set, by the legislative decree, starting from 1 January 2017, but the deadline had been then deferred first to January 1, 2018 and, upon conversion, to January 1, 2020.

The presence of "bans that do not exist in other member states", and the various extensions, are therefore at the origin of the discontent and the attempt to correct them: but the amendments were not allowed to vote. As the letter explains, he invites the presidents Mattarella and Conte, and the ministers of health Roberto Speranza and of the university and research Gaetano Manfredi, the aim of the amendments was "to bring back to the table the discussion on the possibility of removing these distortions" which consist in the ban on experimentation on drugs of abuse and xenotransplants. A situation that, say the petitioners, does not put Italian researchers in the same conditions as colleagues in the rest of the world and which continues despite previous calls for action by the national scientific community. The disallowed amendments also proposed "the refinancing of studies on complementary / alternative methodologies to animal experimentation".

The open letter therefore expresses "disbelief and dismay" at the situation of Italian biomedical research, "opposed by animal rights activists" but not only. In four points, the main deeper problems linked to the presence of "unscientific bans" are reiterated: among these the flight of young researchers abroad in search of more adequate working conditions and then the more general vision of the value of the research itself, which you have its methodological foundations that must be respected: if this does not happen, the short circuit that is generated is much larger than the one thought. The letter confirms that animal experimentation is "among the methods and means necessary to arrive at effective and safe therapies".

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