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EARA is looking for Twitter Ambassadors

The European Animal Research Association is looking for Twitter ambassadors in the following countries – Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Lithuania, Latvia Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.

An EARA Twitter ambassador is responsible for managing a Twitter account in their own language and providing accurate, evidence-based news and other information on the impact and benefits of animal research.

There are currently EARA Twitter accounts in seven languages, operating in countries including Germany @EARA_DE and Italy @EARA_IT.

Candidates must have a background in biomedical research and are either living in the above-mentioned countries or have worked or studied there previously. They should also be available to start as soon as possible.

This is a paid freelance position. If you are interested in becoming an EARA Twitter Ambassador contact us by e-mail – info@eara.eu.  

Greater numbers of institutions in Spain are explaining to the public their use of animals in scientific research, latest survey reveals

Madrid, 17 September, 2019: The Spanish biomedical sector has made greater strides towards openness about the use of animals in scientific research in the last year than ever before, according to a new report by the European Animal Research Association (EARA),.

Among the clear signs of this openness, the survey results from the second annual report (in Spanish) of COSCE (Confederation of Spanish Scientific Societies) Transparency Agreement on Animal Research in Spain, shows that every institution signatory of the Agreement now has a public declaration on their website explaining their policies on the use of animals. 

The Aragon Institute of Health Sciences (IACS) in collaboration with Etopia Center for Art and Technology ,  designed an exhibition based on exploring science through the senses. 

Launched in 2016, the Transparency Agreement on Animal Research in Spain, has been signed by 140 institutions and contains four commitments to provide greater information about the scientific research using animals that they conduct, as well as to improve the level of understanding about the benefits, harms and limitations that animal testing can entail.

The report was conducted by EARA, which along with the Spanish Association for Laboratory Animal Science (SECAL) helped COSCE to develop the Agreement[1].

 “Scientific institutions, in the Agreement, no longer hide or are ashamed about their research with animals and they are clearly explaining to society what their activity is and that they do it ethically,” says Margarita del Val, Vocal of Life and Health Sciences of COSCE.

The report, launched today in Madrid, at CSIC, assesses the progress of institutions towards openness and includes examples and case studies (in Spanish).

Among the activities that institutions reported as examples of openness and transparency were student and school visits, exhibitions and open days, videos and further information on animal research on their websites (see case study examples in Notes to Editors).

Overall, nearly all institutions that responded (96%) believe that the Agreement is an important step for biomedical research in Spain and 86% believe it will lead to real improvements in openness in their own institution.

Other notable responses from the survey (completed by 104 signatory institutions) included:

•             104 institutions (76% of the signatories) completed the survey compared to 62 last year (53% of the signatories at that time).

•             80% of the institutions surveyed offered the possibility of visits by the general public. Some institutions also offered the possibility of a virtual tour. For example: Instituto de Biomedicina de Sevilla IBiS https://youtu.be/ZqIDIaisFYc

•             79% of institutions report on their scientific advances publicly and mention when animals were used in the research.

•             71 % of institutions that use animals confirm that they have hosted visits by students or non- research staff from other institutions

EARA Board member, Javier Guillén, said: “More institutions that ever before in Spain have begun to explain why they use animals in biomedical research and how this is of value to society as a whole and this second annual report illustrates this clearly.

“However, the information collected also reflects that more progress is still needed as not all institutions have yet begun to carry out transparency activities beyond institutional declarations.”

In  the survey, some institutions were still uncertain how they could get help to meet the aims of the three commitments and therefore this year a separate document, which includes a large number of examples and case studies has been distributed to all 140 signatory institutions.

END

Notes to editors

According to the latest data published by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAMA), in 2017 there were 802,976 uses of animals for scientific and teaching purposes in Spain.

Openness case study ‘Animal research gives life’
The Spanish Society for Laboratory Animal Sciences (SECAL) used World Day for Laboratory Animals (24 April), as an opportunity to communicate on animal research. EARA Member SECAL, created a video (in Spanish) with examples on the benefits of the biomedical animal research. The message in the video “La experimentación animal da vida” (Animal research gives life) was repeated by board members of SECAL. Research institutions from Spain and Latin America (including EARA’s Spanish Twitter feed) shared the video on social media with the hashtag #LaExperimentaciónAnimaldaVida.

1/Examples of transparency related to the first commitment:

Science with meaning exhibition
The Aragon Institute of Health Sciences (IACS) in collaboration with Etopia Center for Art and Technology ,  designed an exhibition based on exploring science through the senses. Research with animals comprises an important part of the content.

Audio guide Experimental surgery workshop
Audioguide Animalario

Why animals matter: arguments about animal research
By way of frequently asked questions (FAQs), one of the SECAL Working Groups has prepared an document with 12 questions and answers about animal research.

2/Examples of transparency related to the second commitment:

Transparency webpages at institutions
University of Zaragoza https://portaltransparencia.unizar.es/investigacion-transferencia

Miguel Hernandez University

University of Oviedo http://www.uniovi.es/investigacion/servicios/etica/transparencia

 
VIDEO
Instituto de Biomedicina de Sevilla IBiS https://youtu.be/ZqIDIaisFYc

3/Examples of transparency related to the third commitment:

VIDEOS

SECAL https://secal.es/la-experimentacion-animal-da-vida/

https://www.ucm.es/investigacionarimal/por-que-investigamos-con-animales

VISITS
http://www.ciemat.es/portal.do?IDM=61&NM=2&identificador=1764
https://www.cnb.csic.es/index.php/es/cultura-cientifica/ciencia-en-las-aulas

INFORMATIVE MATERIAL 
SECAL https://secal.es/la-historia-mussi-la-importancia-animal-laboratorio/

EXHIBITIONS
SECAL https://secal.es/reportaje-area-investigacion-biomedica-con-modelos-animales-del-museo-elder/

About EARA
The European Animal Research Association (EARA) is an organisation that communicates and advocates on biomedical research using animals and provides accurate, evidence-based information.  It also takes responsibility for the choice and sustainability in the global transport of animals for medical research. It has more than 80 partner organisations, including private and public research bodies, universities, regional and national biomedical associations and suppliers, across 14 European countries.

EARA’s vision is to enhance the understanding and recognition of research involving animals across Europe, allowing for a more constructive dialogue with all stakeholders and a more efficient climate for research in Europe www.eara.eu

About COSCE
The Confederation of Scientific Societies of Spain is the result an initiative in begun in 2003 and brings together 82 scientific societies representing more than 40,000 members. The purpose of COSCE, are to contribute to the scientific and technological development of Spain; advocate on issues that affect science and promote t


[1] The four commitments of the Agreement are:

1/ Speak with clarity about when, how and why animals are used in investigation.

2/Provide adequate information to the media and the general public about the conditions under which research using animals is carried out and the results obtained from them.

3/ Develop initiatives that improve knowledge and understanding by society about the use of animals in scientific research.

4/Report annually on progress and share their experiences of openness.

Call for Australia and New Zealand biomedical sector to follow Europe and be more open about animal research

‘We are lagging behind on openness about animal research’ say vets and lab technicians.

A survey of Australian and New Zealand vets and technicians who care for animals, used in medical and veterinary research, has shown that most believe scientific institutions should be more open about animal use.

They are also supportive of a public pledge, similar to those found in European countries, to commit Australian and New Zealand institutions to greater openness.

The survey by the Australian and New Zealand Laboratory Animal Association (ANZLAA) of more than 150 people working in animal care has found that 87% believe research institutions in Australia and New Zealand should be more open about their research involving animals.

Speaking at this week’s ANZLAA conference in Perth, Australia, veterinarians Dr Malcolm France and Dr Jodi Salinsky said that 87 per cent of survey respondents wanted research organisations to be more open and would support the development of an ‘openness agreement’ similar to the UK’s successful Concordat on Openness on Animal Research.

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Improving welfare of animals used in research: a critical necessity

This article is reprinted from the Utrecht 3Rs newsletter, with the message of Jan Langermans, Professor ‘Welfare of Laboratory Animals’ at Utrecht University and also deputy director of Biomedical Primate Research Centre, Netherlands, on welfare improvement of animals used in research.

More attention to the welfare improvement of laboratory animals. That is the message prof. dr. Jan Langermans wants to propagate. He was recently appointed professor ‘Welfare of Laboratory Animals’ at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Utrecht University. He will focus on the welfare improvement of larger animals used for scientific purposes.

“In those fields of research where we cannot move forward without laboratory animals, we have to invest in the highest possible welfare standards” says Langermans. “This is an essential part of responsible use of animals for research.” He emphasizes that with refinement, he does not only mean the reduction of pain and discomfort, but also the introduction of positive aspects that contribute to a positive welfare state. For example, simple improvements in food or cage enrichment and creating positive associations with the experimental procedures by means of training can make a huge difference in the quality of life of these animals. Three themes on which he wants to focus are the training of laboratory animals, the introduction of enrichment under experimental conditions and the use of innovative techniques to improve welfare and reduce the number of animals needed for research.

Training both animals and researchers

“An important question that people who work with laboratory animals must continuously ask themselves is: how can we improve the circumstances for these animals?” says Langermans. Continue reading

Pig hearts and human ingenuity

Animal-to-human transplants are on the horizon.

In an article that first appeared in Spiked, academic and author Stuart Derbyshire, applauds the progress towards xenotransplantation.

In August 1979, British surgeon Terence English successfully completed the first heart transplant in the UK. This month he was making headlines again by predicting that we will be successfully transplanting hearts grown in pigs into human patients by 2022.

The transplantation of organs from animals into humans, known as xenotransplantation, would be a huge benefit to those waiting for transplants. There are currently around 6,000 people on the UK transplant waiting list, and over 400 of them died waiting last year. Donor pools are simply insufficient to meet demand.

The insufficiency is getting worse for at least two (good) reasons. First, transplantation techniques are improving, and that means ever greater numbers of patients are becoming eligible for transplantation, increasing demand on donor pools. Secondly, the safety, health and longevity of everyone is improving, meaning that the pool of young, healthy, eligible donor organs is shrinking. Solutions other than human-to-human transplantation are necessary to meet the demand-and-supply gap.

One solution is xenotransplantation, and a report from a team of surgeons in Germany last December brought that solution much closer to fruition. The team transplanted pig hearts into three groups of baboons. Four baboons made up the first group and the results were poor. Three of them survived only one day, and the last survived just 30 days.

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Free EARA event on openness in animal research in Spain, this October

The latest in the series of EARA science communications events, supported by the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) and the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), will take place in Alicante, Spain, on 1 October.

Institute of Neurosciences, Alicante, Spain

Improving Openness in Animal Research in Spain is a free event (register here) and will focus on why scientists, researchers, press officers and other stakeholders should talk openly about animal research, but will not be a debate about the ethics of animal experimentation.

It will take place on the Monday, 1 October, (14:30 – 18:00 CEST) at the Instituto de Neurociencias de Alicante (CSIC-UMH), and is a public event, although it will be of particular interest to those working in the life sciences sector.

Following the presentations, moderated by Cristina Márquez, Neuroscientist, of CSIC-UMH, there will be a panel discussion followed by a drinks reception.

Speakers:
Kirk Leech, Executive Director, European Animal Research Association

Kirk is Executive Director of EARA, a communications and advocacy organisation whose mission is to uphold the interests of biomedical, and other life sciences, research and healthcare development across Europe. Previously Kirk worked for the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry and Understanding Animal Research, the UK’s leading advocacy group on the use of animals in medical research.

Dr. Carmen Agustín, Neuroscientist, University of Valencia

BSc in Biology and PhD in Neuroscience. Lecturer at Dept Cell and Functional Biology & Physical Antropology (Universitat de València). Researcher at Functional Neuroanatomy Lab (Universitat Jaume I de Castelló & Universitat de València). Her research is focused in neurobiology of socio-sexual and parental behaviour, olfactory system, and murine models of neurological disease. Since 2012 she has been actively engaged in science communication, as a blogger, speaker and in different media such as TV, radio and Twitter. She will speak about her experience in communicating animal research to the public.

Daniel Mediavilla, Journalist, El País

Daniel Mediavilla holds a degree in Audiovisual Communication from the University of Navarra and is one of the founders of Materia, the science and technology news website. For five years he has been a science journalist for El País . Previously, Daniel worked as advisor to the Secretary of State for Research, Felipe Pétriz, in the Ministry of Science and Innovation, and as a journalist for the science section of ABC and Público.

Professor Juan Lerma, Neuroscientist and editor-in-chief of Neuroscience, and CSIC-UMH

Juan Lerma is Professor at the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) and the Editor-in-Chief of Neuroscience. He chaired the Animal Research Committee of COSCE that established the Transparency Agreement on the Use of Animals in Research. Previously, he has been Director of the Instituto de Neurociencias (CSIC-UMH) (2007-2016), Chair of the PanEuropean Regional Committee of the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO), and Secretary General of FENS.

Drug trial breakthrough shows that Ebola is ‘no longer incurable’

EARA Executive Director, Kirk Leech, looks at the remarkable progress in biomedical research in the search for a cure for Ebola virus which has devastated parts of central Africa in the last year.

This week, marking the first anniversary of the most recent Ebola outbreak, scientists running a clinical trial of new drugs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have announced a dramatic increase in survival rates.

For countries, such as the DRC, Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, Ebola is a serious health emergency. They are among the poorest countries in the world, only recently emerging from years of civil war and unrest that has left basic health infrastructures severely damaged or ruined. Living conditions are often restricted and unclean, water supplies are limited, medical treatment is scarce, and trust in officialdom, pretty much non-existent.

Massive underdevelopment and the attendant problem of political dysfunction have created a situation in which a virus like Ebola can flourish. Since 2014 a total of 28,616 cases of Ebola and 11,310 deaths were reported in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. This is what is driving research into finding a way to halt the spread of the disease

Now, thanks in part to research involving mice and non-human primates the sponsors of the current clinical trial in DRC have announced a real breakthrough. While an experimental vaccine that was proven to be effective in monkeys had previously been shown to shield people from catching Ebola, this new development marks a first for people who have already been infected.

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New EARA brochure published

The European Animal Research Association has published a new brochure to illustrate its work as an association and as the voice of the biomedical sector on the use of animals.

The brochure looks at the activities of EARA since its inception in 2014, its strategic goals and some key facts about animal research.

It was included in all the delegate bags at the recent FELASA Congress, in Prague, Czech Republic, in June – a total of 1,800. It was also available on EARA’s exhibition stand.

EARA_Brochure_Artwork

EARA sets out its guidance on improving Non-Technical Summaries for the general public

The European Animal Research Association (EARA) has submitted a guidance document on Non-Technical Summaries (NTS) to the EU Commission on how NTS can be made more understandable for the ordinary reader.

The details were presented by Javier Guillén, (pictured below) a member of the EARA working group that produced the guidance document, at the 14th FELASA Congress, held in Prague, Czech Republic, last week.

Javier told the Congress that as part of its strategy to improve openness and transparency on the use of animals in research in Europe, EARA has been working closely with the EU to help improve the information provided to the general public.

It is understood that the Commission will produce additional guidance on NTS for Member States using some of the EARA guidance document findings.

Every research project application, that intends to use animals, is required to include a publicly available NTS which includes a simple explanation of the project’s objectives, predicted harms, benefits and number and types of animals used. It must also demonstrate compliance with the 3Rs (replacement, reduction and refinement).
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