Radio debate on animal research


Institutional Communication Service

10 June 2023

The first "National Laboratory Animal Day" is being held in Switzerland today, Saturday, 10 June 2023. Information booths are set up in three Swiss cities: Zurich, Basel and Fribourg. In the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland, a radio broadcast was held discussing the importance of laboratory animals in scientific research. The programme included several guests with varying viewpoints. Representing USI was Professor Giovanni Pedrazzini, Dean of the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences.

Switzerland follows the 3Rs principle (Replacement, Reduction, Refinement), which means that animal experiments are only approved if no other options are available. Additionally, the number of animals involved in experiments is kept to a minimum, and the experimental methods and living conditions are designed to be as stress-free as possible. The Federal Council has recently launched the National Research Programme "Advancing 3Rs - Animals, Research and Society" with a budget of CHF 20 million to decrease the number of experiments, find alternatives to them, and reduce the burden on animals.

Animal testing in medical and scientific research was discussed in-depth on the radio program Millevoci (RSI, Rete1). Professor Giovanni Pedrazzini, the Dean of USI Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, dialogued with Massimo Tettamanti, the scientific advisor to the Swiss Association for the Abolition of Vivisection (ATRA) and for the development of alternative methods to animal testing. The discussion also included Luisella Battaglia, a Professor of Moral Philosophy and Bioethics at the University of Genova and a member of Italy's national committee for bioethics and bioengineer Giulia Raggi.

What emerges from the debate is that the scientific community, particularly Swiss universities, actively supports reducing the impact of animal research. Through research in university institutes, innovative techniques are being developed. The aim is to follow the principles of the national 3R competence centre, of which USI is a member, to gradually improve animal welfare. However, although we live in a very positive period of scientific evolution, accelerating too much towards animal-free research would mean - in the words of Professor Pedrazzini - "destroying the bridge on which we are walking to cross the river".

The full version of the broadcast (42 minutes) is available here (Italian only):

A public debate to further explore the topic, "Animals in scientific research and alternative methods", will be held on 18 September 2023 from 9 am to 12:30 pm in the multipurpose room of the East Campus Lugano. For further information and to register: