BASEL, Switzerland and MILAN, Italy, April 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- On Saturday April 20, Italian animal rights extremists invaded laboratories at the University of Milan and the associated National Institute of Neurosciences to destroy a large number of important research projects. On behalf of more than 6000 researchers worldwide, the Basel Declaration condemns this act of extremism and calls for solidarity.
The research destroyed by the attacks focuses on currently incurable diseases such as Autism, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Multiple Sclerosis and many other still incurable diseases. Members of the "Fermare Green Hill" group abducted about 100 purpose-bred animals that require special care. Therefore, it is unlikely that they survive their "liberation". In addition, the extremists maximized damage by removing all cage signs used to identify the animals. This renders all mice in experiments useless and defies the supposed "animal liberation".
According to Prof. Clementi, a signer of the Basel Declaration and internationally renowned pharmacologist, the financial damage likely exceeds several 100'000 Euros, with the scientific damage being even far bigger. Years of research have been senselessly destroyed.
The Basel Declaration and its Society are shocked about these extremist acts and are deeply concerned about its impact on scientific freedom and the future of biomedical research in Italy and Europe.
"If society wants continued medical progress, innovative drugs and better healthcare, we need to advance clinical but even more fundamental science", says Prof. Zeller, president of the Basel Declaration Society. "Animal research remains an essential pillar of all biomedical research. Thanks to research with animals we have been recently been able to develop better therapies for multiple diseases such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS and improve the outcome of organ transplantations dramatically, which saves millions of lives every year. In particular basic research in neuroscience, which is the focus of our Milan colleagues, is key to tackling the health care problems of aging European societies."
The signers of the Basel Declaration understand that animal research raises many ethical issues. They are fully aware of the manifold questions arising in this area and have committed themselves to key principles safeguarding the welfare of research animals and engaging in a permanent and open dialogue with society (http://www.basel-declaration.org).
Prof. Zeller: "We must stress that research at the University of Milan is conducted in accordance with national legislation. Most importantly the new European law, binding for all Member States since January 2013, sets highest standards for housing and welfare of laboratory animals. These national laws, approval and inspection procedures are the results of democratic decision making processes. Extremists who destroy laboratories and "liberate" animals commit serious crimes and attack the core of our democratic principles."
On behalf of all colleagues who signed the Basel Declaration, we call for solidarity with our Milan colleagues by
- asking society to trust scientists and raise any concerns on what is done in an open, transparent and fact-based dialogue using candour and mutual respect
- calling upon the media to provide fair, balanced and fact-based coverage on biomedical research, acknowledging that science is complex, but essential for all progress of knowledge-based societies
- asking moderate animal welfare organizations to condemn such acts of extremism and join us in an open and constructive dialog
- calling upon police, law enforcement and policy makers to apply "zero-tolerance" strategies toward criminal acts of animal rights extremists
- asking everyone concerned about progress in the area of neuroscience to submit proposals on how the damage our Milan colleagues can be alleviated
We kindly ask you please sign the international call for solidarity posted on our website:
and to submit proposals and suggestions to support our Milan colleagues to:
Prof. Rolf Zeller
On behalf of the signers and members of the Basel Declaration and its Society
Basel Declaration Society
Basel Declaration Society