Saturday, 24 January 2015

Italian court convicts lab-dog breeders

Three found guilty of cruelty against animals bred for scientific research.
23 January 2015

Animal-rights activists cheered outside the tribunal building in Brescia, Italy.

A criminal court in the northern Italian city of Brescia has handed down jail sentences to three employees of a company that breeds beagle dogs for scientific research. The three had been charged with cruelty to the animals in their care, and with unjustifiably putting down some of them. The court found another defendant innocent.

Roberto Bravi, director of the Green Hill facility in Montichiari near Brescia — which belongs to the US-based animal breeding company Marshall Bioresources — was given one year. Renzo Graziosi, the facility’s veterinarian, and Ghislaine Rondot, who manages Marshall’s activities in Europe, both received one and a half years.

The judgement was announced on 23 January, but the reasoning behind the verdict will only be made known in two months.

The Italian Anti-Vivisection League (LAV) proclaimed a victory, but said the sentences were too light. Some pro-research groups, on the other hand have expressed surprise and concern. Dario Padovan, president of the scientific research defence lobby group Pro-Test Italia, which has been following the court case closely, says he had expected the defendants to win. “We were shocked,” he says. “It is another attack on Italian biomedical research, which is becoming increasingly vulnerable.”

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