The biggest seizure and rescue of animals from a laboratory in Italy’s history


The biggest seizure and rescue of animals from a laboratory in Italy’s history

22 April 2024
25 animals, including dogs and primates, were rescued from a research facility in Verona where serious mistreatment of animals was discovered. The facility, which carries out animal testing on behalf of international pharmaceutical companies, is being charged with the neglect and unlawful killing of animals including beagles, marmosets and macaques.

The Court of Verona has brought forward charges against officials of the multinational pharmaceutical research company Aptuit, for the mistreatment and unnecessary killing of animals in the facility. The veterinarian and the company's former president have been included in the register of suspects.

The prosecutors asserted that the company failed to comply with even the minimum criteria of animal management required by law, resulting in serious physical and psychological damage to the animals.  These charges can lead to a fine of  up to 30 000 € and imprisonment of up to 18 months.

Within this laboratory, thousands of dogs and monkeys were subject to injections, withdrawals and toxicity tests that lead to agonising deaths in deplorable conditions. The animals lacked fundamental necessities such as kennels, left on cold tile floors with no sunlight.

Due to the ongoing legal case, full details about the mistreatment are yet to be released.

A report released by LAV three years ago highlighted a shipment of several beagles to the Aptuit Company, which led to national demonstrations and demands for an official inspection. Following continuous pressure, 25 animals were rescued and appointed to LAV’s care after the Public Prosecutor’s Office ordered an inspection of the facility.

The 7 beagles are now cared for by competent staff in veterinary clinics. The primates, 7 macaques and 11 marmosets, have found refuge at the Animanatura Wild Sanctuary Rescue Centre in Semproniano, who are rehabilitating over 50 primates rescued from laboratories, aiding their recovery from years of physical and psychological trauma.

This seizure of animals from a laboratory represents the largest of its kind in Italy.

If these very serious irregularities were found in what is considered 'excellence' in pharmaceutical research, what is happening now, at this very moment, in the more than 500 Italian laboratories? We trust the authorities and hope that this is the beginning of a process that will discover what has been hidden until now.

Gianluca Felicetti, LAV

My wish is that for the time they have left to live, they can live in complete serenity, doing what they were born to do, which is simply to be animals.

Lorenza Zanaboni, LAV

LAV are calling for signatures of their petition asking the Italian Minister of Universities and Research to finance non-animal methods, speeding up the transition away from animal testing.