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Medicine Science

Protesting Animal Testing, Intruders Vandalize Italian Lab 285

Posted by timothy
from the matter-of-priorities dept.
ananyo writes "Activists occupied an animal facility at the University of Milan, Italy, at the weekend, releasing mice and rabbits and mixing up cage labels to confuse experimental protocols. Researchers at the university say that it will take years to recover their work. Many of the animals at the facility are genetic models for psychiatric disorders such as autism and schizophrenia. Some of the mice removed by activists were delicate mutants and immunosuppressed 'nude' mice, which die very quickly outside controlled environments. No arrests have been made following the 12-hour drama, which took place on Saturday, although the university says that it will press charges against the protesters. The attack was staged by the animal-rights group that calls itself Fermare Green Hill (or Stop Green Hill), in reference to the Green Hill dog-breeding facility near Brescia, Italy, which it targets for closure."
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Protesting Animal Testing, Intruders Vandalize Italian Lab

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  • by tnk1 (899206) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @11:41AM (#43525519)

    I have some sympathy for those who think animal testing is inhumane, but really all they are doing is just making sure these animals suffered for nothing. Does anyone think these funded projects will not get funding and a new set of animals to test on again?

    I think humane treatment of animals needs to be done in a context of changing society's views on animal testing itself instead of what is basically vandalism. Vandalism is only going to let people regard those against animal testing as some sort of anarchist losers.

    And yes, breaking into some of these labs is a biohazard situation. Probably not zombies, but still potentially very dangerous,

  • Re:Morons (Score:5, Insightful)

    by meerling (1487879) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @11:46AM (#43525571)
    Agreed. Some morons do reprehensible harm to research that would have helped many people, and cause the death of many of the test animals, all for the purpose of opposing a completely unrelated dog breeding facility that's in a different city.

    I'd rather use some harsher descriptions than morons, but we'll leave it at that for now.
  • Re:Animal Cruelty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Archon V2.0 (782634) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @11:50AM (#43525623)

    Hah.... Problem is, for the nuts that do this it doesn't matter if the animals live or die. Either they're "saved from a worse fate" in the lab, or it's "the scientists who made them like this" so their existence is already unnatural or they're even "martyrs to the cause", but it's a flimsy justification for wanting to bust up someone's workplace without running into the level of security to be found in the average factory or office complex.

    Ultimately, it's not that they like animals. It's that they hate people.

  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @11:51AM (#43525635)

    This is the same behavior I would expect from any kind of extremist where their actions are based on intolerant idealism. Whatever your religion, if you think other people need to suffer, you are wrong.

  • trespassed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bored_engineer (951004) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @11:57AM (#43525715)
    This is called trespassing, not occupying. It's always interested me how our politics can influence our descriptions.
  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @12:01PM (#43525775)

    I think humane treatment of animals needs to be done in a context of changing society's views on animal testing itself instead of what is basically vandalism

    Just to point out, treating animals humanely is already a concern at every real research institution. There are internal review boards and inspections to make sure animals are being treated well, they're healthy, and pain is minimized.

    Even if you don't think researchers care about the animals, consider this: there are economic and public relations motives aligning research institutions with the public's view on animal testing. If a research institution is abusing animals, that will eventually get to the media, which will be a headache for all involved. So they take steps to avoid animals being abused in the first place. Also, animals are expensive. The "higher" the organism, the more expensive it is generally. If you can use mice instead of monkeys, you use mice: using monkeys is insanely expensive. If you can use C elegans (a worm) instead of mice, you use c elegans. Mice are hideously expensive to maintain and complicated compared to C elegans. If you can use yeast instead of C elegans, you use yeast because... well you see the pattern. Each step down, especially from mice to C elegans, the consensus is that they matter less, and they definitely cost less. So there's pressure to move away from animal models wherever possible already. If someone is doing testing in mice and is getting funded to do it, those studies probably won't work except in mice or above.

  • by onyxruby (118189) <{onyxruby} {at} {comcast.net}> on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @12:11PM (#43525901)

    It's always apocalyptic for the animals when this kind of thing happens. This is Eco-terrorism and it's the local wildlife that suffers with the large influx of new animals that they suddenly have to compete with or risk catching whatever it was that required laboratory conditions to begin with.

    The lab raised animals have no natural ability to forage, hunt, seek shelter, hide from predators or anything else. They are proverbial sitting ducks and when released into the wild are usually located by the large numbers of dead (whatever) bodies all in a given area. In the event of predatory animals they can go on a rampage against farm animals or pets and the net result is a lot of other dead animals as well.

    The impact to the environment is bad as there is no balance and concerns like population disbursement across suitable environments are never taken into consideration. These are not the actions of anyone that gives a damn about the environment because if they did and had a clue they would never do something like this.

    When the animals are found they have to be put down (killed) in order to avoid further contaminating the environment with what was otherwise a controlled test requiring laboratory conditions. The net result is that critical research in things like medicine or other science sometimes gets set back by years as they have to start the entire research experiment over. This of course results in far more animals going through than otherwise would have and can significantly hamper life saving research.

  • Re:Animal Cruelty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @12:26PM (#43526097)
    Sorry anon, they're not misunderstood, they're just misanthropes.
    Their target isn't any institution, it's making themselves feel "big" and "important" by hurting others. Of the groups I've encountered, many have connections to other violent protest groups, and long criminal records. Some of the newbies might be innocents that got dragged into it without realizing what they were getting into, but most of those either see what's going on and quit, or join in and become just as bad.
  • Re:Animal Cruelty (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @12:29PM (#43526145)

    I have worked in IT support in Life Sciences for some nine years now in the U.K. The level of security in the U.K. goes way beyond the average factory and/or office complex because of the issues that the animal rights terrorists cause. They have whole floors that are basically "hidden" and similar. Going anywhere in the building requires a smart card.

    That said the animal rights terrorists in Italy are not as vocal and extreme as those in the U.K. so security may well be significantly laxer.

  • by benjfowler (239527) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @12:30PM (#43526167)

    It should be noted that animal rights extremism is one of those nastiest "-ism"s out there. They're uniformly odd (gay, vegan, left-wing, what not) not-very-bright, hyper-emotional, irrational and violent, not to mention, annoying. In otherwise, extremism and violence-prone personalities.

    Furthermore, southern Europe has the craziest and most violent animal rights nutters out there. For a while, I'd see a crazy woman in a chicken suit squawking through a microphone incoherently in front of my office (AstraZeneca are allegedly near by), but then I went south a few times, and those extremists are split from the whole fucking program.

  • Re:Animal Cruelty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by marcello_dl (667940) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @12:36PM (#43526267) Homepage Journal

    Vandalism is a good way to drive away people from your cause indeed.

    What about:
    - i am against animal cruelty so all experimentation and ALL EXPERIMENTS' results must be public.

    At least animals suffer only once.

    Failure to do so, using animals to compete for treatments, is a sadistic blood rite, not science.

  • Re:Animal Cruelty (Score:4, Insightful)

    by digitrev (989335) <digitrev@hotmail.com> on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @12:38PM (#43526297) Homepage
    So they believe animal testing is morally wrong. Why? Is that a root belief, or does that derive from some other belief. For example, I believe that the anti-vaccination group is wrong, not in and of itself, but because I believe that 1) anti-vaccination propaganda leads to reduced vaccination rates, 2) reduced vaccination rates leads to more dead or crippled children, and 3) I believe in improving the quality of life for people where it is possible and the risks and side-effects are negligible. That is to say, there are several other things that lead me to believe that anti-vaccination teachings are morally wrong.

    So if they believe a priori that animal testing is wrong, then I'll argue with them there. But surely they have to have a deeper reason than that. I mean, I can easily see the argument that animal testing is or can be cruel to animals, and I'm more than willing to take steps to reduce the animals' suffering. So if that's the case, then why are groups like them (and PETA - see PETA's disturbingly low adoption rates [huffingtonpost.ca]) so intent on rescuing animals only to kill them?
  • Re:Animal Cruelty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @12:41PM (#43526345)

    I don't know if this is a problem in the country where you live but where I live there have been an incident where an animal right group hid crushed glass in meat based food. (Chickens in this case.)
    Since I don't really think that there are that many activists who are willing to break laws to this extent I suspect that it's the same kind of people who would break in to release those animals.
    I don't think that they really mean any harm but rather that they don't think of the consequences. The former incident could have caused the death of several humans and fits pretty much every description of terrorism. (Except the one that requires them to be Muslims.)
    This time everything turned out OK but what happens when they do it to a lab that is trying to find a cure for HIV or is trying to find antibiotics that are effective against resistant strains? Considering the possible danger to society it could be justified to use lethal force to prevent such an incident to happen.

    They might not eat babies but I'm pretty sure you can trick them into doing it if it was for a good cause.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @12:57PM (#43526535)

    They're uniformly odd (gay, vegan, left-wing, what not) not-very-bright, hyper-emotional, irrational and violent, not to mention, annoying. In otherwise, extremism and violence-prone personalities.

    You forgot to mention they tend to make ridiculous sweeping generalizations.

  • Re:Assholes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @12:58PM (#43526557)

    Exactly my thoughts. Who would breed animals who is only purpose is to suffer?

    That's not why they are bred and you damn well know it, dickhead. And as far as any "suffering", many of them live a life of luxury by animal standards.
    If you're not willing to completely abandon ALL modern medicines and procedures, then you're a hypocrite plain and simple.

  • by j00r0m4nc3r (959816) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @01:10PM (#43526737)

    We want to avoid excessive abuse of animals, but we do still need to use/eat them.

    Need? Or want?

  • Re:Assholes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by digitrev (989335) <digitrev@hotmail.com> on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @01:50PM (#43527255) Homepage

    I am willing to abandon all modern medicines beyond antibiotics from say, 20 years ago.

    So to clarify, you'd willingly give up the vaccinations for Lyme disease, rotavirus, and HPV? And finally, I hope that you never get cancer, because I'd be willing to wager that the best drugs have been developed fairly recently.

    We also have to agree though to stop developing chemicals which cause new and old diseases to proliferate.

    You do realize that antibiotics are the drugs most likely to cause resistant strains of bacteria, right? Other than that, I have no idea what chemicals are allowing diseases to proliferate.

    Oh and stop feeding animals with inappropriate diets which cause things like prions to also spread. Who's with me?!

    I'll give you this one, but I'm unsure as to how this relates to the rest of your post.

  • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @02:43PM (#43528063)

    establishing a proper respect for all living things.

    Smallpox is a living thing. So is bubonic plague.

    Lot of disgusting things are living things (I'd be pretty happy if every fire ant in creation were to suddenly choke to death, for instance).

  • Re:Assholes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by benjfowler (239527) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @03:03PM (#43528295)

    I wonder where all the plant rights people are?

    It might be amusing to have a plant rights movement, where the supporters refuse to eat, wear or use all plant products, or plant-derived medicine; eat nothing but animals; and firebomb and threaten people who experiment on plants.

    I'm going right now to register the name "Plant Rights International", start an international grass-roots (heh) movement, and get all indignant and outraged. It's what people live for.

  • Re:Assholes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Americano (920576) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @05:44PM (#43530151)

    Oh shit, have the bacteria and viruses agreed to stop evolving, too?

    I mean, they've signed on this "we'll always remain susceptible to antibiotics developed before 1993" thing, right?

    And have the poor agreed to die of starvation and malnutrition because they can't afford the costs of doing away with modern agricultural practices?

    I'm so glad to hear you've solved all our problems, friend. I look forward to the delightful new world you've designed for us!

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