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Conscientious Objection to Animal Experimentation in Italian Universities

Dipartimento di Scienze Chirurgiche e Diagnostiche Integrate (DISC), Università di Genova, 16132 Genova, Italy
Unità Operativa di Chirurgia Plastica e Ricostruttiva, IRCCS Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria San Martino -IST Genova, 16132 Genoa, Italy
Dipartimento di Antichità, Filosofia, Storia, Geografia (DAFIST), Università di Genova, 16126 Genova, Italy
Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale (DIMES), Università di Genova, 16132 Genova, Italy
School of Medicine and Surgery, University of Verona, P.le L. A. Scuro 10, 37134 Verona, Italy
Dipartimento di Scienze della Salute (DISSAL), Università di Genova, 16132 Genova, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Clive J. C. Phillips
Animals 2017, 7(3), 24;
Received: 15 October 2016 / Revised: 28 February 2017 / Accepted: 4 March 2017 / Published: 13 March 2017
PDF [208 KB, uploaded 13 March 2017]


In Italy, Law 413/1993 states that public and private Italian Institutions, including academic faculties, are obliged to fully inform workers and students about their right to conscientious objection to scientific or educational activities involving animals, hereafter written as “animal CO”. However, little monitoring on the faculties’ compliance with this law has been performed either by the government or other institutional bodies. Based on this premise, the authors have critically reviewed the existing data and compared them with those emerging from their own investigation to discuss limitations and inconsistencies. The results of this investigation revealed that less than half of Italian academic faculties comply with their duty to inform on animal CO. Non-compliance may substantially affect the right of students to make ethical choices in the field of animal ethics and undermines the fundamental right to express their own freedom of thought. The Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research, ethics committees and animal welfare bodies should cooperate to make faculties respect this law. Further research is needed to better understand the reasons for the current trend, as well as to promote the enforcement of Law 413/1993 with particular regard to information on animal CO. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal ethics; 3Rs; conscientious objection; veterinary education; science education; non-animal methods animal ethics; 3Rs; conscientious objection; veterinary education; science education; non-animal methods
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Baldelli, I.; Massaro, A.; Penco, S.; Bassi, A.M.; Patuzzo, S.; Ciliberti, R. Conscientious Objection to Animal Experimentation in Italian Universities. Animals 2017, 7, 24.

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