Repubblica.it, an Italian online newspaper, accounts for the cancellation of a fund-raising initiative to collect money for the research on rare disease. The cancellation has been motivated by the fear of riots provoked by animalist activists who object living animals to be used in medical research. This form of terrorism is a dangerous growing trend in Italy, and one of the reasons for this growing is that extreme animalism is not perceived as bad as its “political” sibling (thank to the support given by teen-agers oriented TV channels, politicians and artists.) I don’t see how the opinion of (former)models, self-professed experts with no impact-factor or citation-index or bloggers-on-a-mission should prevail over the facts stated by the major Italian research institution.
Anyway the consequence is that police authorities and the government aren’t taking seriously this issue letting activists to continue threatening the medical and biotech research in Italy. Of course I don’t claim that “every animalist is a terrorist” and I don’t want to enter into the semantics of both words. What I do not find fair is the justification for the use of violence in the name of an idea: the field of history is crossed by enormous rivers of blood because somebody bleieved to be absolutely right, thus taking the burden to “convert” those who disagreed.
As often happens in Italy, this is the result of the a confusion between “ethics” (that is a personal matter) and “law” (that is – or is supposed to be – a tool for balancing contradictory interests.) This confusion is likely to badly affects the feasibility of the scientific research in Italy. I still haven’t collected enough information about how big a disincentive this animalist threat is for the health companies who want to invest in Italy, but the very first hints don’t let imagine a bright future.