Category Archives: News

Speakers announced for free EARA event in Frankfurt

A full list of speakers is now available for the next in a series of science communications events to be held at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, in Frankfurt am Main, on 17 December..

The free event (register here) will discuss improving openness and communications with the general public, political decision makers and opinion formers.

Hosted by EARA and supported by the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) and the Society for Neuroscience, the event is entitled, Improving Openness in Animal Research in Germany.

The event will focus on why scientists, researchers, press officers and other stakeholders should talk about animal research, but it will not be a debate about the ethics of animal experimentation.

The speakers are:
– Prof. Dr. Gilles Laurent, Director, Max Planck Institute for Brain Research (MPI)
– Kirk Leech, European Animal Research Association
– Dr. Andreas Lengeling, Max-Planck-Society
– Volker Stollorz, Science Media Center, Germany
– Moderator: Dr. Emily Northrup is the Head of the Animal Facility of the (MPI)

This will be followed by a panel discussion where they will be joined by Dr. Regina Oehler, a science editor at the Hessischer Rundfunk since 1985.

Improving Openness in Animal Research in Germany.
Monday 17 December 2018
14:00 – 17:00
(Registration begins at 13:30)
Max Planck Institute for Brain Research
Max-von-Laue-Str. 4
60438 Frankfurt am Main
Germany

Top ten UK universities for animal research announced

 A list of the ten UK universities that conduct the highest number of animal procedures has been published by Understanding Animal Research (UAR).

The statistics have been gathered from figures found on the universities’ websites as part of their ongoing commitment to transparency and openness.

The ten institutions collectively conducted over one third of all UK animal research in 2017 all have signed up to the Concordat on Openness on Animals Research.

The top three in the list are University of Oxford (236,429 procedures), University of Edinburgh (225,366) and University College London (214,570).

Wendy Jarrett, chief executive of UAR, said: “The Concordat has fostered a culture of openness at research institutions up and down the UK.

“Almost two-thirds of the university Concordat signatories provide their animal numbers openly on their websites – accounting for almost 90% of all animal research at UK universities.“

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Spanish animal 2017 statistics shows drop in procedures

New figures released by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, show an overall decrease in the use of animals in biomedical research last year.

According to the official government website (in Spanish), in 2017 there were a total of 802,976 procedures involving animals, which compares to 917,986 in 2016, .

Overall this reflects a significant drop, equivalent to one-eighth of the 2016 total number, including almost halving of the number of times fish were used (from 168,746 to 85,687).

The statistics, made available annually in compliance with European law, demonstrate the continuing commitment of the Spanish biomedical sector to working responsibly with animals used for research.

Particular trends show a reduction in the number of procedures on mice, rats, pigs and, especially cephalopods⸺down from 8444 to 20. More procedures on cats (531) and dogs (1476) occurred in 2017 than in the previous year. This overall downward trend countered the way the number of procedures in Spain had previously been increasing since 2014.

Commenting on the figures, Lluis Montoliu of the National Centre for Biotechnology, Spaintweeted: ‘It must be remembered … that the use of dogs is still indispensable in the preclinical validation of innovative gene therapy treatments for diseases and that the use of non-human primates is equally essential in certain pathologies that affect us.’

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Remaining silent about the use of animals in research is a greater risk than speaking out, German audience is told

An event on communication in animal research in Germany this week has called on more scientists to step forward and raise awareness.

Attended by more than 80 members of the biomedical community, a panel of experts from research, animal welfare and the science media came together to discuss the topic, Improving Openness in Animal Research in Germany, at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), in Tübingen. The event was supported by the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) and the Society for Neuroscience (SfN).

Setting the scene, EARA Executive Director, Kirk Leech, said that while progress had been made in Germany on communication there is still a significant reluctance within many academic institutions, and amongst scientists, towards conducting a more open and consistent dialogue with the public.

‘If you are in public research you have to expect that the general public will take an interest in what you do,’ he added.

Expanding on the theme, Nancy Erickson (pictured), qualified vet and animal welfare officer at, Freie Universität Berlin, and a member of animal research awareness group Pro-Test Germany, reminded the audience that: ‘By remaining silent we do create a space for misconceptions about animal research.

‘If you are only communicating in a defensive mode then you are in a difficult situation. When you are proactive you can use the quiet times to build trust with the public.’ Continue reading

EARA voices concerns to UK Parliament on implications of No-deal Brexit

EARA’s Brexit Taskforce has made a submission to the UK Parliament Health and Social Care Committee inquiry concerning the animal science used to develop human and veterinary medicines.

Critical to the continuing success of the biomedical sector will be the timely and efficient import/export transport of purpose-bred research animals, biological samples and vaccines.

The submission also offers concrete proposals for avoiding delays in the movement of animals and related materials.

‘Without the ability to move research animals from one country, or continent, to another, or from a breeder or supplier, to a research institution, crucial scientific research to discover new treatments may be disrupted,’ said Kirk Leech, EARA Executive Director.

Neuroscientists hit back at MEPs statement

The Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) has responded to the recent European Parliament’s Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals statement on the use of animals in neuroscience, which claimed that, ‘Animal testing is inherently uncertain and is a misleading indicator for human trials’.

In its own response statement FENS said: ‘The value of animal-based research for wide-reaching scientific and medical advances, including in neuroscience, cannot be overstated.’

The statement, also backed by EARA, EFPIA, GIRCOR, RSB, TVV and Wellcome, continued: ‘While there is an element of uncertainty in drug-related R&D, the use of animals in neuroscience research has undoubtedly contributed to our ever-improving understanding of the human brain and important advances in the treatment of neurological diseases.’

Italian convictions prompt calls for greater openness

Three Italian animal rights activists convicted of raiding the University of Milan animal labs have received a harsher sentence from the judge following their claim that they were acting on behalf of a ‘higher justice’ for animals.

Judge Vincenzina Greco gave the trio an 18-month sentences for the raid in 2013 (also English translation).

Commenting on the verdict, Giuliano Grignaschi, secretary-general of Research4Life, said: ‘Those who oppose research on animals don’t have the widespread social support they claim.’

Grignaschi and colleagues hope to bring Italian legislation closer in line with public support for biomedical research, by pushing for what he calls ‘a gradual approach’, starting with the publication of at least one webpage with information on the rationale and goals of the research on animals in each institution, the results obtained, and the numbers of animals used.

Nobel Prize awarded for turning the immune system against cancer

This year’s Nobel Prize winners for Physiology or Medicine used animal models to develop their novel cancer therapy.

James P. Allison, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, USA, and Tasuku Honjo, of Kyoto University, Japan, discovered in mice a way of unleashing immune cells to attack tumours by turning off the safeguards in the immune system that prevent it from attacking human tissue.

In turn, new drugs can now be developed offering hope to patients with advanced and previously untreatable cancer. Immune checkpoint therapy is already used to treat people with the most serious form of skin cancer, melanoma.

Cancer kills millions of people each year and is one of humanity’s greatest health challenges. By stimulating the inherent ability of our immune system to attack tumour cells this year’s Nobel Laureates have established an entirely new principle for cancer therapy. Continue reading

Full list of speakers for EARA/FENS free event in Tübingen, Germany

Improving Openness and Animal Research in Germany – Free event, Monday, 22 October, FENS/EARA

The list of speakers for the free satellite event on communication on animal research has now been confirmed.

The event will discuss improving openness on animal research in communications with the general public, political decision makers and opinion formers in Germany.To attend please register here 

EVENT DETAILS  Continue reading

EARA looks ahead with strategic objectives for next five years

EARA has set out the association’s vision and mission and its strategic objectives up until to 2023, following its General Assembly in Munich, Germany.

The Strategic Review looks at the background to EARA’s founding in 2014 and its achievements. The association now has more than 70 member organisations from private and public research as well as professional bodies across 15 countries in Europe.

EARA was founded following recognition of the need to develop, establish and implement proactive communication strategies to improve public understanding and acceptability of animal research, and to help co-ordinate the sector to speak with a unified voice to decision makers in Brussels and with the national advocacy organisations.

Among EARA’s achievements are the forming of formal and informal networks, particularly in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain, engagement with the EU on regulation and consultation, a social media presence in seven languages and support for the supply chain in Europe. Continue reading