An Italian woman suffering from a rare genetic illness has spoken out against the death wishes she was sent after defending the use of animals in medical research.
Caterina Simonsen, from Padua, had posted a photo of herself on Facebook holding the message: “I am 25 thanks to genuine research that includes experiments on animals.”
“Without research, I would have been dead at nine,” she added. “You have gifted me a future.”
After uploading the photo, Ms Simonsen said she received over 500 abusive messages including 30 “death wishes” on the social network.
Now, the 25-year-old has now posted a series of videos responding to the abuse and detailing her illness. She suffers from four separate rare genetic disorders that have left her unable to breathe unaided, she said.
A self professed animal lover, Ms Simonsen studies veterinary medicine at Bologna University and has posted a number of pictures of herself with her pet dog and ferret.
Although some abuse has continued, she has now also received a large number of messages of support.
A controversial subject, many campaigners believe all testing on animals is unethical and should be banned.