It is possible to have a conscientious opposition to research on animals, and every university has channels by which activists can register their dissent, and by which they can also influence ethical decisions made by institutional animal research review committees. There is a right way and a wrong way to protest. And the wrong way is charge into a lab, disrupt experiments in progress, and “liberate” highly inbred, specialized animals that are dependent on laboratory care for their health and survival. Protesters in Milan chose the wrong way.
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.
I don’t even understand the mindset here. Where are you going to release lab animals to? They may require special diets and care, they most likely have been raised in a very specific environment and have no ability to cope with a different place, and they may have genetic diseases that make them completely unable to compete with wild forms. Years ago at the University of Oregon, ALF pulled a stunt like this; they released lab-bred animals along the side of I5. The only animals to benefit in the area were the red-tailed hawks who saw a sudden bounty of terrified white rodents.
And further, scrambling the data for research into human neurological disorders accomplishes nothing other than slowing research. Why? This is nothing but hatred of science.
There’s not much one can do in the face of determined stupidity other than to show a united front. Sign the Call for Solidarity with the scientists in Milan.