Category Archives: News

EARA website study shows much more progress is needed to improve openness on animal research in Portugal

A study by the European Animal Research Association (EARA), of websites of biomedical research bodies in Portugal, assessing how they discuss research using animals, has found that the sector is still some way from an acceptable level of openness and transparency in animal research.

EARA assessed a total of 50 institutional websites in Portugal, during 2018, both public and private bodies, such as universities and pharmaceutical companies, and a rating system was developed to analyse the data. The main findings were that:

  • Just over a quarter (26%) of the institutions conducting animal research carry a recognisable statement on their websites explaining the use of animals in research/animal welfare.
  • However, around two thirds of websites assessed (62%) meet the criterion for providing ‘more information’, for instance by including the kind of animals used.
  • Just one in five (20%) of the websites can be considered to have prominent mentions of animal research – such as recognisable statements within three clicks of the homepage.

Currently, efforts to improve openness in Portugal are co-ordinated through a transparency agreement, which was launched last year by the Portuguese Society of Sciences in Laboratory Animals (SPCAL), in collaboration with EARA, and is signed by 16 institutions.

A total of 1,219 institutional websites within the EU[1] were assessed and the findings from the EARA Study of EU-based websites 2018 have now been presented to the EU Commission, which is currently examining the findings.

In comparison to Portugal, the percentage of institutions that displayed a statement on the use of animals in research in other countries was – France 32%, Germany 34%, Italy 39%, Spain 84% and UK 95%.

EARA Executive Director, Kirk Leech, said: “The biomedical sector in Portugal has made progress through its transparency agreement, but much more can be done. Institutions should  make greater use of all the opportunities to be more accessible and to be more transparent with the public.

“Our view is that the websites of the institutions that we assessed will play an increasingly important role in informing members of the public, media, decision-makers and regulators about the use of animals in research, their welfare and the benefits of biomedical science for humans and animals”

The website study has helped EARA identify areas of good practice on communications and openness in the life sciences sector and areas where improvement is needed. It will also help EARA provide guidance on best practice to all its member organisations and the sector as a whole across Europe and build on the advice already given to EARA members in the EARA Communications Handbook.

The study is therefore a tool that can then be used to encourage greater transparency in line with the recommendations made in Section 3 of the Review of Directive 2010/63/EU in November 2017.

Using the documentation and techniques developed in the course of this study, EARA intends in future years to revisit the websites involved and chart the improvement (or otherwise) of the institutional openness of the sector as a whole.

For further information contact EARA Communications Manager, Bob Tolliday, btolliday@eara.eu on +44 (0)20 3675 1245 or +44 (0)7970 132801

END


[1] A further 100 websites from non-EU countries were assessed.

EARA website study shows much more progress is needed to improve openness on animal research in Italy

A study by the European Animal Research Association (EARA), of websites of biomedical research bodies in Italy, assessing how they discuss research using animals, has found that the sector is still some way from an acceptable level of openness and transparency in animal research.

EARA assessed a total of 64 institutional websites in Italy during 2018, both public and private bodies, such as universities and pharmaceutical companies, and a rating system was developed to analyse the data. The main findings were that:

  • Around two in five (39%) of the institutions conducting animal research carry a recognisable statement on their websites explaining the use of animals in research/animal welfare.
  • However, more than two thirds of websites assessed (66%) meet the criterion for providing ‘more information’, for instance by including the kind of animals used.
  • Fewer than one in five (17%) of the websites can be considered to have prominent mentions of animal research – such as recognisable statements within three clicks of the homepage.

A total of 1,219 institutional websites within the EU[1] were assessed and the findings from the EARA Study of EU-based websites 2018 have now been presented to the EU Commission, which is currently examining the findings.

In comparison to Italy, the percentage of institutions that displayed a statement on the use of animals in research in other countries was – France 32%, Germany 34%, Spain 84% and UK 95%.

EARA Executive Director, Kirk Leech, said: “We believe the sector in Italy needs to make greater use of all opportunities to be more accessible and to be more transparent with the public. Whilst progress has been made by many institutions, much more could be done.

“Our view is that the websites of the institutions that we assessed will play an increasingly important role in informing members of the public, media, decision-makers and regulators about the use of animals in research, their welfare and the benefits of biomedical science for humans and animals”

The website study has helped EARA identify areas of good practice on communications and openness in the life sciences sector and areas where improvement is needed. It will also help EARA provide guidance on best practice to all its member organisations and the sector as a whole across Europe and build on the advice already given to EARA members in the EARA Communications Handbook.

The study is therefore a tool that can then be used to encourage greater transparency in line with the recommendations made in Section 3 of the Review of Directive 2010/63/EU in November 2017.

Using the documentation and techniques developed in the course of this study, EARA intends in future years to revisit the websites involved and chart the improvement (or otherwise) of the institutional openness of the sector as a whole.

For further information contact EARA Communications Manager, Bob Tolliday, btolliday@eara.eu on +44 (0)20 3675 1245 or +44 (0)7970 132801

END


[1] A further 100 websites from non-EU countries were assessed.

EARA website study shows much more progress is needed to improve openness on animal research in Germany

A study by the European Animal Research Association (EARA), of websites of biomedical research bodies in Germany, assessing how they discuss research using animals, has found that the sector is still some way from an acceptable level of openness and transparency in animal research.

EARA assessed a total of 151 institutional websites in Germany during 2018, both public and private bodies, such as universities and pharmaceutical companies, and a rating system was developed to analyse the data. The main findings were that:

  • Just a third (34%) of the institutions conducting animal research carry a recognisable statement on their websites explaining the use of animals in research/animal welfare.
  • Just over half the websites assessed (55%) meet the criterion for providing ‘more information’, for instance by including the kind of animals used.
  • Well under a third (28%) of the websites can be considered to have prominent mentions of animal research – such as recognisable statements within three clicks of the homepage.

A total of 1,219 institutional websiteswithin the EU[1] were assessed and the findings from the EARA Study of EU-based websites 2018have now been presented to the EU Commission, which is currently examining the findings.

In comparison to Germany, the percentage of institutions that displayed a statement on the use of animals in research in other countries was – France 32%, Italy 39%, Spain 84% and UK 95%.

EARA Executive Director, Kirk Leech, said: “We believe the sector in Germany needs to make greater use of all opportunities to be more accessible and to be more transparent with the public. Whilst progress has been made by many institutions, much more could be done.

“Our view is that the websites of the institutions that we assessed will play an increasingly important role in informing members of the public, media, decision-makers and regulators about the use of animals in research, their welfare and the benefits of biomedical science for humans and animals”

The website study has helped EARA identify areas of good practice on communications and openness in the life sciences sector and areas where improvement is needed. It will also help EARA provide guidance on best practice to all its member organisations and the sector as a whole across Europe and build on the advice already given to EARA members in the EARA Communications Handbook.

The study is therefore a tool that can then be used to encourage greater transparency in line with the recommendations made in Section 3 of the Review of Directive 2010/63/EU in November 2017.

Using the documentation and techniques developed in the course of this study, EARA intends in future years to revisit the websites involved and chart the improvement (or otherwise) of the institutional openness of the sector as a whole.

For further information contact EARA Communications Manager, Bob Tolliday, btolliday@eara.eu on +44 (0)20 3675 1245 or +44 (0)7970 132801

END


[1] A further 100 websites from non-EU countries were assessed.

EARA website study shows the Belgian biomedical sector must continue to improve openness on animal research

A study by the European Animal Research Association (EARA), of websites of biomedical research bodies in Belgium, assessing how they discuss research using animals, has found that the sector needs to continue to make progress towards an acceptable level of openness and transparency in animal research.

EARA assessed a total of 41 institutional websites in Belgium, during 2018, both public and private bodies, such as universities and pharmaceutical companies, and a rating system was developed to analyse the data. The main findings were that:

  • Just over half (56%) of the institutions conducting animal research carry a recognisable statement on their websites explaining the use of animals in research/animal welfare.
  • Just over half of the websites assessed (56%) meet the criterion for providing ‘more information’, for instance by including the kind of animals used.
  • Just under a two thirds (61%) of the websites can be considered to have prominent mentions of animal research – such as recognisable statements within three clicks of the homepage.

A total of 1,219 institutional websites within the EU[1] were assessed and the findings from the EARA Study of EU-based websites 2018 have now been presented to the EU Commission, which is currently examining the findings.

In comparison to Belgium, the percentage of institutions that displayed a statement on the use of animals in research in other countries was – France 32%, Germany 34%, Italy 39%, Spain 84%, and UK 95%.

EARA Executive Director, Kirk Leech, said: “We believe the sector in Belgium needs to make greater use of all opportunities to be more accessible and to be more transparent with the public. Whilst progress has been made by many institutions, much more could be done.

“Our view is that the websites of the institutions that we assessed will play an increasingly important role in informing members of the public, media, decision-makers and regulators about the use of animals in research, their welfare and the benefits of biomedical science for humans and animals”

The website study has helped EARA identify areas of good practice on communications and openness in the life sciences sector and areas where improvement is needed. It will also help EARA provide guidance on best practice to all its member organisations and the sector as a whole across Europe and build on the advice already given to EARA members in the EARA Communications Handbook.

The study is therefore a tool that can then be used to encourage greater transparency in line with the recommendations made in Section 3 of the Review of Directive 2010/63/EU in November 2017.

Using the documentation and techniques developed in the course of this study, EARA intends in future years to revisit the websites involved and chart the improvement (or otherwise) of the institutional openness of the sector as a whole.

For further information contact EARA Communications Manager, Bob Tolliday, btolliday@eara.eu on +44 (0)20 3675 1245 or +44 (0)7970 132801

END


[1] A further 100 websites from non-EU countries were assessed.

EARA website study shows much more progress is needed to improve openness on animal research in France

A study by the European Animal Research Association (EARA), of websites of biomedical research bodies in France, assessing how they discuss research using animals, has found that the sector is still some way from an acceptable level of openness and transparency in animal research.

EARA assessed a total of 191 institutional websites in France during 2018, both public and private bodies, such as universities and pharmaceutical companies, and a rating system was developed to analyse the data. The main findings were that:

  • Just under a third (32%) of the institutions conducting animal research carry a recognisable statement on their websites explaining the use of animals in research/animal welfare.
  • However, more than two thirds of websites assessed (68%) meet the criterion for providing ‘more information’, for instance by including the kind of animals used.
  • Just over a third (37%) of the websites can be considered to have prominent mentions of animal research – such as recognisable statements within three clicks of the homepage.

A total of 1,219 institutional websites within the EU[1] were assessed and the findings from the EARA Study of EU-based websites 2018 have now been presented to the EU Commission, which is currently examining the findings.

In comparison to France, the percentage of institutions that displayed a statement on the use of animals in research in other countries was – Germany 34%, Italy 39%, Spain 84% and UK 95%.

EARA Executive Director, Kirk Leech, said: “We believe the sector in France needs to make greater use of all opportunities to be more accessible and to be more transparent with the public. While progress has been made by many institutions, much more could be done.

“Our view is that the websites of the institutions that we assessed will play an increasingly important role in informing members of the public, media, decision-makers and regulators about the use of animals in research, their welfare and the benefits of biomedical science for humans and animals”

The study has helped EARA identify areas of good practice on communications and openness in the life sciences sector and areas where improvement is needed. It will also help EARA provide guidance on best practice to all its member organisations and the sector as a whole across Europe and build on the advice already given to EARA members in the EARA Communications Handbook.

The website study is therefore a tool that can then be used to encourage greater transparency in line with the recommendations made in Section 3 of the Review of Directive 2010/63/EU in November 2017.

Using the documentation and techniques developed in the course of this study, EARA intends in future years to revisit the websites involved and chart the improvement (or otherwise) of the institutional openness of the sector as a whole.

For further information contact EARA Communications Manager, Bob Tolliday, btolliday@eara.eu on +44 (0)20 3675 1245 or +44 (0)7970 132801

END


[1] A further 100 websites from non-EU countries were assessed.

Much more progress needed to improve openness on animal research in EU – EARA website study

A study by the European Animal Research Association (EARA), of more than a 1,000 websites across the EU, assessing how the biomedical sector talks about research using animals, has found that ‘the sector is still some way from an acceptable level of openness and transparency in animal research’.

The findings from the EARA Study of EU-based websites 2018 have now been presented to the EU Commission, which is currently examining the findings.

A total of 1,219 institutional websites within the EU were assessed, both public and private bodies, including universities and pharmaceutical companies, during 2018 and a rating system was developed to analyse the data which found that:

• Just under half (44%) of the institutions conducting animal research carry a recognisable statement on their websites explaining the use of animals in research/animal welfare.

• Just over half the websites assessed (53%) meet the criterion for providing ‘more information’, for instance by including the kind of animals used.

• Well under a third (28%) of the websites can be considered to have prominent mentions of animal research – such as recognisable statements within three clicks of the homepage.

• Only just over a third (36%) of the websites assessed carry any imagery related to animal research.

• Around half the websites (49%) assessed featured some kind of case study on the animal research they support, fund or conduct.

• Fewer than a quarter (23%) of the websites in the sector provide ‘Extensive Information’ online, for instance, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) or press releases.

Comparing some of the countries in the study, showed variations across the EU. The percentage of institutions that displayed a statement on the use of animals in research was – France 32%, Germany 34%, Italy 39%, Netherlands 15%, Spain 84%, and UK 95%.

EARA Executive Director, Kirk Leech, said: “We believe the sector needs to make greater use of all opportunities to be more accessible and to be more transparent with the public. Whilst progress has been made by many institutions, much more could be done.”

The study has helped EARA identify areas of good practice on communications and openness in the life sciences sector and areas where improvement is needed. It will also help EARA provide guidance on best practice to all its member organisations and the sector as a whole across Europe and build on the advice already given to EARA members in the EARA Communications Handbook.

EARA anticipates that institutional websites will play an increasingly important role in informing members of the public, media, decision-makers and regulators about the use of animals in research and the contribution of animal research to biomedical science. The website study is therefore a tool that can then be used to encourage greater transparency in line with the recommendations made in Section 3 of the Review of Directive 2010/63/EU in November 2017.

Using the documentation and techniques developed in the course of this study, EARA intends in future years to revisit the websites involved and chart the improvement (or otherwise) of the institutional openness of the sector as a whole.

For further information contact EARA Communications Manager, Bob Tolliday, btolliday@eara.eu on +44 (0)20 3675 1245 or +44 (0)7970 132801

END

Notes to editors

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 60 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.

The benefits of animal research
Most of the medicines we have come from animal research. Often science doesn’t need to use animals, but for many key questions they are crucial. They will help millions with conditions such as cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord damage and parasitic infections like malaria. There are three main reasons why animals are used in research:

• To advance scientific understanding,
• To develop solutions to medical problems,
• To test medicines and vaccines in order to protect the safety of people, animals and the environment.

Animals are used when there is a need to find out what happens in the whole living body, which is far more complex than the sum of its parts. It is very difficult, and in most cases simply not yet possible, to develop non-animal methods to replace the use of living animals.

Insight into views of UK public with opinion poll on animal research

Around two thirds of the UK public accepts the use of animals for research where there is no alternative, according to a government survey for 2018.

But the newly released report also observed that one of the main characteristics the public attributes to animal research organisations remains “secrecy”.

The acceptability figure remains unchanged since 2014.

As well as asking about public acceptability of animal research the 2018 report on Public Attitudes to Animal Research, published by Office for Life Sciences, also looked at public awareness and public attitudes to regulation.

Public trust in the regulation of animal research in the UK remains at levels recorded in previous years, but awareness of government work on the “three Rs” remains low.

Interest in alternatives and the welfare of animals is high and has risen, but two thirds of the public do not feel well-informed about the use of animals in research.

Marking 50 years of biomedical research with minipigs

EARA member Ellegaard Göttingen Minipigs has marked 50 years of the company at its Scientific Symposium, in London, UK, which also looked at future biomedical research uses for its animal model.

After Lars Friis Mikkelsen (pictured), CEO of Ellegaard, opened the Symposium, a series of lectures explained the growth of the company and its long-term collaboration with the University of Göttingen, which originally bred the minipig, and examined the ways that the animal is used in toxicology testing. 

Peter Vestbjerg of Ellegaard, explained that the Göttingen Minipigs is a good non-rodent model due to the adaptability of the minipig and its well managed genetics.

Examples of how minipigs are being used to test toxicity on compounds under development for Alzheimer’s and for anti-cancer drug development were given by Joanna Harding of AstraZeneca, and Sally-Anne Reynolds of Sequani, respectively.

From the University of Edinburgh, Michael Eddleston focused on translational medicine between animals and humans and how we can modulate human self-poisoning in Göttingen minipig models. “Pigs do save lives”, he said.

Henrik Duelund Pedersen of Ellegaard, concluded the symposium by listing the specific advantages of mini pigs in studies for dermal toxicity and reproduction among others.

Besides the scientific context, the importance of communication about the benefits of animal research to the public was highlighted by Kirk Leech, EARA Executive Director, and Wendy Jarrett, Chief Executive of Understanding Animal Research.

EARA Executive Director, Kirk Leech, described the work of EARA in the promotion of openness and transparency across Europe as well as the opportunities for greater openness on communicating animal research.

Wendy Jarrett presented the main areas of action of UAR in the United Kingdom and explained why and how it is important engaging with the public, sharing ideas and shaping a supportive environment for the use of animals, such as minipigs.  

Further Ellegaard Scientific Symposiums are planned across Europe, including the 13th Minipig Research Forum on 22-24 May in Vienna, Austria. For more information follow the LinkedIn page and read the Newsletter.

Spanish initiative says ‘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 Spanish Twitter) shared the video on social media with the hashtag #LaExperimentaciónAnimaldaVida.

Sergi Vila of SECAL, said the video as “a very positive initiative”, especially on the eve of the general election in Spain, where the Animalist Party (PACMA) has called for the ending of animal research.

Ethics in the spotlight after pig brain revival

A debate has been stirred by news that neuroscientists have stimulated activity in the brain of pigs hours after their heads were removed.

The discovery performed at the Yale University School of Medicine, USA, has also highlighted potential limitations in the current regulations for animals used in research as argued in an article in Nature.

In an article in National GeographicKhara Ramos, of the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, asked if “the development and application of new neuro-technologies may require us to examine ethical standards, and for those standards to evolve”.

In The Guardian, ethical questions such as ‘How do we delimit consciousness in a brain removed from the body?’; ‘Is it possible to speak about consciousness in an isolated brain?’ were also raised.