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Turin: Expose of the laboratory primate trade and campaign launch
PRESS RELEASE - 11 September 2009

Turin: Expose of the laboratory primate trade and campaign launch

Animal Defenders International (ADI) and AgireOra host screening of shocking DVD

A major new campaign to end the use of monkeys in European laboratories has been launched today in Turin, Italy. It took place at the Unione Culturale Franco Antonicelli, Via C.Battisti 4b, Turin at 11 a.m.

The event was open to the press and the public and included a screening of the documentary 'Save the Primates' unveiling what the campaigners hope will be the biggest awareness drive on the use of primates in experimentation that Italy has ever seen.

Representatives from ADI and AgireOra hosted the campaign launch and Massimo Tettamanti, an expert in alternative methods to animal testing, and Elena Baistrocchi, a primatologist at Firenze University, also spoke at the event.

The screening of the hard hitting 'Save the Primates' documentary showed:
Wild monkeys being trapped for experiments
Inside a laboratory monkey supplier's premises
Experiments being performed on conscious monkeys
Examples of modern alternatives to animal experiments

New campaign materials launched by ADI and AgireOra include:
Postcards which will be distributed throughout Italy
A new petition which will be distributed and is available online
Copies of the Save the Primates DVD
Information sheets and reports for an awareness drive

The campaign aims to increase pressure on the Council of Ministers who are currently considering Europe-wide rules on animal experiments. The European Commission have proposed restrictions of primate experiments and a crackdown on the wild capture of primates by dealers supplying European laboratories. Campaigners will be calling on the Italian Government to strengthen these measures at the Council of Ministers.

More than 2000 ADI/AgireOra postcards asking the Italian Government to take action for animals in laboratories have already been distributed in Italy in just three days.

The following examples illustrate the pain and suffering inflicted on animals in Italian laboratories:

Research at the Universite; di Bologna, Bologna involved using two macaque monkeys in a task to test the activation in one area of the brain in grasping and pointing tasks(1). Following training to carry out the tasks over five months, the primates underwent surgery to insert head restrainers and recording chambers into monkeys' skulls. The animals were then restrained by the head and made to carry out the tasks in the dark.

The authors of the study acknowledge that this data is in agreement with that gained from humans making this experiment both unscientific and unnecessary.

Elsewhere at the University of Bari, Valenzano, researchers used goats in an experiment as a model to test a drug to treat herpes(2). Animals were infected vaginally with herpes and different groups were treated at different points post-infection. Some of the goats suffered swelling and lesions on their genital areas and the authors reported that the animals showed signs of pain when being swabbed.

This experiment had previously been carried out over a decade ago in humans and its findings were positive so this recent research was a clear waste of animal lives and resources.

ADI and AgireOra plan to increase political support by engaging the Italian people in this debate with petitions in city centres, online and a special postcard campaign.

Helder Constantino, ADI Campaigner, said: "As the Council of Ministers considers Europe-wide rules on animal experiments, this is a real opportunity to set Europe on a course to end the use of primates in experiments. Our film shows shocked, frightened wild monkeys being stripped from the trees and destined for use in labs, the grim conditions that monkeys endure in centres which sell primates for research and also the horrific experiments these animals are subjected to. We urge people to visit our website to see the evidence for themselves and then send a message to the European Parliament and Council of Ministers asking them to act to stop primates suffering."

Marina Berati, coordinator of AgireOra Network, said: "Life behind the closed doors of these testing facilities is harsh and disturbing for the animals. We hope our campaign will encourage the public to take an active stand against this cruelty by writing letters and protesting against animal maltreatment. The animals can not speak for themselves so they need to be defended and the EU must act now."


Save the Primates can be watched in Italian on AgireOra's TV animalista:  and on ADI's Save the Primates campaign web-site:

Notes to editors

1 Reference: Hand Orientation during Reach-to-Grasp Movements Modulates Neuronal Activity in the Medial Posterior Parietal Area V6A - The Journal of Neuroscience (2009) Vol. 29, Issue 6, pp: 1928-1936

2 Reference : Assessing the Efficacy of Cidofovir against Herpes virus-Induced Genital Lesions in Goats Using Different Therapeutic Regimens. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Nov. 2008, pp:4064 - 4068

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About Animal Defenders International:
Animal Defenders International exists to educate, create awareness and alleviate the suffering of animals and works to protect wildlife and the environment. ADI lobbies governments for measures to protect animals and the environment, and organises the rescue of animals in distress. In 2007, ADI secured the adoption of Written Declaration 40/2007 by the European Parliament calling for an end to the use of apes and wild caught monkeys in experiments and for timetable to phase out all experiments on monkeys. The European Commission proposals currently under consideration are a response to this Declaration. ADI has offices in London, San Francisco and Bogota, has representatives in many countries and works with partner organisations all over the world.

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About AgireOra:
AgireOra Network is a set of initiatives, campaigns, projects and consultations aimed at defending animals. This includes all animals, without any species distinction, as its logo emphasizes: a human hand which is making a pact of help and friendship with a dog's paw (to symbolize companion animals) and a cow's hoof (to symbolize farm animals and in general all animals "used" by humans).

AgireOra Network works to circulate information and to encourage animal rights activism. These are the two areas of the project: providing information to educate those who "do not know" about these issues and encourage activism in those who are aware and want to take a stand to help animals.

AgireOra is based in Turin and is active all over Italy, thanks to a network of activists in daily contact via the Internet.
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