Science is an essential – If not predominant – component of contemporary culture. Yet, nowadays, some Italian politicians want to deny the right to speak in public to one of the world's most respected Italian scientist, Silvio Garattini. His fault is that of telling the truth about animal experimentation: Garattini always reminded that it is impossible to get along without experimentation on living beings if we want to keep researching new treatments, such as those against cancer. He also highlighted that the new law approved by the Italian Parliament on July 31, by interpreting in a restrictive way the 2010/63/UE Directive from the European Parliament, prevents researchers from doing their job properly in this country. The same statements have been repeated by all the most authoritative scientific exponents, national and international.
Good moral reasons may be advanced against experiments on animals, as long as you are willing to forgo the benefits they produce. It is unethical, however, to affirm the opposite of the truth, such as that animal experimentation is useless for the advancement of medicine, has no health benefit, and may always be replaced by other methods.
Such a reversal of reality was already an alarming indication of a regression in the public debate by itself, but now we have come to a point where the organizers of the Sarzana Festival della Mente have been warned to not allow Garattini (invited to talk on a topic that does not relate to animal experimentation) to speak in public, simply because "unwelcome."
The threat to boycott Garattini’s participation to the Sarzana Festival put at stake something that goes beyond the issue of animal experimentation and of science itself: it is a matter of freedom of expression and respect for the rules of democratic and civilian confrontation, in a country that must not surrender to populism and to any kind of compliance towards attempts to gag an opposing opinion.
The Group 2003 for Scientific Research condemns this attack on freedom of thought and expresses full solidarity to Silvio Garattini and gratitude for his commitment. It also reminds that every man of science has a duty towards society: reporting the truth he knows, even if unpleasant to a part of public opinion. Finally, the Group calls on all political representatives to intervene, in order to ensure the necessary freedom of thought and to bring the debate on animal experimentation in the context of fairness and knowledge.
The Group 2003 for scientific research
Drafted and approved by:
Maria Pia Abbracchio
Domenico Ferrari Cesena
Rocco De Nicola
Gaetano Di Chiara
Carlo La Vecchia
Pier Mannuccio Mannucci
Marco Ajmone Marsan
Maria Grazia Roncarolo
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