Tag Archives: transparency

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

Acordo de Transparência sobre investigação animal em Portugal

A Sociedade Portuguesa de Ciências em Animais de Laboratório (SPCAL) em colaboração com a EARA, desenvolveu uma proposta para melhorar a informação disponível para a sociedade sobre a utilização de animais na investigação científica.

A proposta é um Acordo de Transparência sobre a Investigação Animal em Portugal que se baseia em quatro compromissos para ajudar os centros de investigação e as universidades a melhorar as informações disponibilizadas ao público sobre esta temática.

O Acordo de Transparência tem como objetivo melhorar a compreensão e a aceitação da investigação com recurso a modelos animais por parte da sociedade portuguesa, promovendo a abertura e transparência em relação à experimentação animal. Os signatários concordam deste modo em partilhar de uma forma consistente a informação sobre a utilização de animais na investigação, bem como das suas justificações científicas, éticas e morais.

Os signatários do Acordo de Transparência Português concordariam com as seguintes obrigações:
– Colocar uma declaração referente ao bem-estar animal no website da Instituição.
– Colocar um link para o Acordo de Transparência.
– Fornecer informações adequadas aos meios de comunicação social e ao público em geral sobre as condições em que é efetuada a investigação com animais e os resultados obtidos.
– Desenvolver iniciativas que promovam maior conhecimento e compreensão da sociedade sobre o uso de animais em investigação científica.
– Reportar anualmente os progressos obtidos e partilhar experiências.

Para visualizar todas as organizações que aderiram a este acordo, Lista de Instituições_PT.

PT LOGOS_16 INSTITUTIONS

Os signatários deste documento estão empenhados em seguir estes princípios e a promover estratégias apropriadas para a sua instituição promover a transparência sobre a utilização de modelos animais na investigação.

A investigação com modelos animais tem desempenhado um papel fundamental no avanço do conhecimento científico, médico e veterinário. O uso regulamentado da experimentação animal contribui para a ampliação do conhecimento sobre os mecanismos que regulam a nossa saúde e para perceber como se desenvolvem determinadas doenças.

Na nossa sociedade, existem pessoas que compreendem a importância da utilização de modelos animais na estratégia da investigação biomédica, mas também existe uma parte que se opõe a este tipo de investigação. Normalmente, o posicionamento negativo face à experimentação animal é devido à falta de informação e conhecimento sobre este tema.

Este acordo é baseado no trabalho prévio que começou em Portugal em 2017. Uma série de instituições de investigação portuguesas juntaram-se com o intuito de discutir como melhorar a compreensão e a aceitação da investigação animal por parte do público português. Estiveram presentes representantes da Faculdade de Ciências e da Faculdade de Farmácia da Universidade de Lisboa, da NOVA Medical School|Faculdade de Ciências Médicas da Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, do Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, do Instituto de Medicina Molecular da Universidade de Lisboa e da Fundação Champalimaud. Nessa reunião, a EARA propôs explorar a possibilidade de desenvolver um Acordo de Transparência para orientar um passo de abertura e transparência em relação à experimentação animal em Portugal.

Como aderir ao Acordo de Transparência sobre a Investigação Animal em Portugal?

Se a sua instituição deseja apoiar esta iniciativa e assinar o Acordo de Transparência, ou em caso de alguma dúvida, por favor entre em contacto com:
– Ana Barros, Coordenador da EARA, abarros@eara.eu
– Bob Tolliday, Coordenador da Comunicação da EARA, btolliday@eara.eu 00 44 (0) 7715525535
– Ricardo Afonso, Presidente da Sociedade Portuguesa de Ciências em Animais de Laboratório (SPCAL), acordotransparencia@spcal.pt

Press
Publico 21/06/18

Transparency Agreement on animal research in Portugal

The Transparency Agreement on Animal Research in Portugal (‘Acordo de Transparência sobre Investigação Animal em Portugal) is a collaborative project by EARA and the Portuguese Society of Sciences in Laboratory Animals (SPCAL).

This is an initiative inspired by the Transparency Agreement in Spain, launched at 2016 where EARA co-operated with the Federation of Spanish Scientific Societies (COSCE) and by the UK Concordat on Openness on Animal Research.At the launch on June 21, 2018, the Transparency Agreement was signed by 16 institutions including Research Centres and Universities from across Portugal. 

By signing up to the Portuguese Transparency Agreement, the signatories agree to the following obligations:
– Make a declaration concerning animal welfare on the Institution’s website.
– Link to the Transparency Agreement.
– provide adequate information to the media and the general public on the conditions under which animal research is carried out and the results obtained.
– Develop initiatives that promote greater knowledge and understanding of society on the use of animals in scientific research.
– Report on progress achieved on an annual basis and share experiences.

View here all the organisations that have signed the agreement to date.

PT LOGOS_16 INSTITUTIONS

 

With the Transparency Agreement, EARA and SPCAL aim to work together to foster a climate of openness around animal research in Portugal. The four commitments ensure that the Transparency Agreement is an actionable document, which signatories can use to guide their progress toward openness on animal research.

This agreement builds on work in Portugal that began in 2017. A number of Portuguese research institutes met to discuss how to improve the Portuguese public’s understanding and acceptance of animal research. At this meeting were representatives from the Faculty of Sciences and Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Lisbon, Nova Medical School Lisbon, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, the Instituto de Medicina Molecular and the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown. At the meeting EARA proposed to explore the possibility of developing a Transparency Agreement to guide efforts on openness on animal research in Portugal.

If your institution wishes to support this initiative and sign the Transparency Agreement, or if you have any questions, please contact:
– Ana Barros, EARA co-ordinator, abarros@eara.eu
– Bob Tolliday, EARA Communications Coordinator, btolliday@eara.eu 00 44 (0) 7715525535
– Ricardo Afonso, President of the Portuguese Society of Sciences in Laboratory Animals (SPCAL), acordotransparencia@spcal.pt

Agreement on transparency in animal research launched in Portugal

The public announcement of the Transparency Agreement on Animal Research in Portugal
will take place today (21 June 2018).

This initiative presented by the scientist Nuno Sousa has been proposed by the European Animal Research Association (EARA) and supported by the Portuguese Society of Sciences in Laboratory Animals (SPCAL) and is supported by 16 Portuguese institutions, from across the country, that use animals in biomedical and basic research.

The aim of the Transparency Agreement is to improve the Portuguese public’s understanding
and acceptability of animal research by promoting openness and transparency. The signatories
agreed to be more open and consistent with the public on their communication about the scientific, ethical and moral justifications for animal research.

This approach is based on the Transparency Agreement in Spain, launched in 2016, where
EARA co-operated with the Federation of Spanish Scientific Societies (COSCE) and the UK
Concordat on Openness on Animal Research.

Kirk Leech, of EARA, said: “This Transparency Agreement is a significant step forward for the
biomedical sector in Portugal. It will set high standards for openness and lead to a greater
understanding among the general public of the benefits of animal research, including the
contribution it makes to the studies of cancer and diseases of the brain.

“We also expect that most institutions in Portugal, that conduct animal research will eventually join the Agreement.”

The launch ceremony took place before the IV SPCAL Congress dedicated to the theme
“Quality and Transparency in Science involving Laboratory Animals”, in the School of Medicine
and the Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS) at University of Minho, in Braga. There followed a presentation by Prof. Doctor Nuno Sousa, neuroscientist and President of the
School of Medicine of the University of Minho; EARA Executive Director, Kirk Leech and the
President of SPCAL, Prof. Doctor Ricardo Afonso. Continue reading

Scientists in Europe must take more responsibility for openness, says EARA executive director

Openness and transparency surrounding the use of animals in research is ‘still an Achilles Heel’ for the biomedical sector, a roundtable hosted by the Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM) last week has heard.

Speaking at the meeting, EARA Executive Director, Kirk Leech, said: “The zeitgeist is openness and transparency for the biomedical sector, but this is still an Achilles Heel for many European institutions.” Continue reading

Join the Webinar on steps to transparency and openness in the U.S.

FREE WEBINAR
Tuesday, 6 February, 11am (U.S.Eastern)
Topic: How to advance public acceptance of research with animals in the U.S. through greater transparency and openness.
Joining details
The National Primate Research Centers is hosting this webinar as a precursor to more detailed discussions at the 5th International Basel Declaration Society Conference in San Francisco, February 14-15.

EARA Executive Director, Kirk Leech, will open the webinar with a brief presentation about the European approach followed by a moderated a discussion on ways the scientific community can improve public support in the U.S. for animal research.

There is enough anecdotal evidence to suggest those who conduct research with animals are failing to improve public acceptability of animal research in the United States. Recent polling also suggests that when animal research is put into context, such as highlighting the specific disease areas and potential advances being investigated using animal models, support rises substantially. Thus, the need for the scientific community to more consistently communicate the continuing need for animal research to the public is apparent.
End

University of Munster launches Principles document on the ethical treatment of animals in testing.

The University of Münster, in Germany, has launched its Principles on the Ethical Treatment of Animals in Scientific Research and Teaching, as part of the institution’s approach to greater transparency on the issue of animal research.

Part of this initiative has been to invite journalists to visit the university’s European Institute for Molecular Imaging (EIMI) and the Central Institute for Animal Experiments (ZTE), which houses rats, pigs, zebra fish and 14 white rabbits for courses on animal testing. this article is reproduced from the university’s website.

Dr. Sonja Schelhaas, who works at the European Institute for Molecular Imaging at Münster University, answers questions from ZEIT editor Fritz Habekuß during the journalists’ visit.

BEHIND THE SCENES: JOURNALISTS VISIT THE ANIMAL TESTING LAB
AT MUNSTER UNIVERSITY

“The white mouse has been anaesthetized. Its little legs have been fixed to a heating plate by means of adhesive strips, and a large amount of gel has been spread over its clean-shaven breast. An ultrasound probe is positioned overhead, and Richard Holtmeier, a member of the team at the European Institute for Molecular Imaging (EIMI) at the University of Münster is using this to study how the mouse copes with a plastic catheter which has been inserted into its carotid artery. Sources of infection inside the body can be seen on the screen of the ultrasound device.

“We can’t see inflammations without using optical imaging,” says Prof. Michael Schäfers, the Director of EIMI. The researchers use this experiment to try and find out why bacteria collect on artificial implants such as hips or knees. The experiment lasts ten minutes, and afterwards Richard Holtmeier carefully puts the mouse in the storage box. “We need animal testing because we can’t carry out the experiments on humans,” Schäfer explains. “It takes a very long time before our findings can be used for the benefit of patients.” During any series of experiments a mouse is used, on average, two and a half times. After this, the animal is killed and tissue is removed from it for further research.

In the lab there are seven journalists from newspapers and a news agency who have been invited here by the Münster University Press Office. Full of curiosity, they watch the EIMI staff at work. A hubbub of voices fills the cramped room. Everyone is wearing a white coat, everyone has to watch out for the others in the room. While the researchers around Michael Schäfers describe their daily work and demonstrate three experiments involving imaging, the journalists go about their own work: asking questions, making plenty of notes. The reason for the journalists’ visit is the unanimous vote by the University Senate in October to adopt the six-page “Principles on the Ethical Treatment of Animals in Scientific Research and Teaching”.

Call for greater transparency
Seeing journalists in an animal testing laboratory at the University of Münster is something that would have been unimaginable until just recently. Over the past few years, though, there have been ever louder demands – from both inside and outside the University – for greater transparency. Calls for a debate came not only from among students, but also from scientists and researchers who advocated more openness. The idea of drawing up a set of principles was born and was supported by the Rectorate. On the “Coordination Committee for Animal Testing”, whose members came from a variety of disciplines, there then followed some lengthy, painstaking wrangling to reach agreement on content and wording.

The Principles were to be presented to the Senate in 2016. The Committee informed the University Press Office. One thing was clear: publicly, the Principles should be made as widely known as possible. But it was also clear that it would be difficult to persuade external journalists to come to Münster for a press briefing just to hear about these Principles. For journalists, it is incomparably more interesting to see and experience what the issue is all about. Thus it was that the idea was born of combining a press briefing with discussions and a look inside an animal testing laboratory. The Press Office had already worked out the plans with the researchers involved when the preparations had to be halted. The reason was that the Senate asked for a public hearing to be held before the Principles were adopted. And so the thought of any PR work was put on hold until then. Continue reading

Animal rights infiltration at Brussels university

On Tuesday, Belgian animal rights group GAIA published video material taken during an undercover investigation at the animal research facility of the Free University of Brussels (VUB), Belgium. The footage was taken over the course of three months, and suggests that the care for the animals in the facility was inadequate. VUB announced that they will investigate the footage and cooperate with an external inquiry announced by the State Secretary for animal welfare.

vub-infiltration

Coverage of the infiltration on the website of Het Laatste Nieuws, the most popular newspaper in Flanders and Belgium.

The infiltration took place between March and June of this year. Under orders of GAIA, an undercover informant spent three months working as an animal caretaker at VUB’s Animalarium, the animal research facility at the university’s Jette campus. The six minute long video that GAIA released on Tuesday shows footage of animals in the facility, as well as recordings of conversations with employees at the Animalarium. Reactions to the video where mixed: half of comments on the article in Het Laatste Nieuws were opposed to animal research, while around 25% explained the role of animal research in biomedicine, and a further 25% were neutral on the issue.

VUB has announced that it will thoroughly investigate the footage to determine whether any of the events in the video breached national legislation or the university’s internal standards. The university understands that the video has raised concerns, and will examine the need for a strengthening of internal procedures. In addition, VUB has advanced plans for a new research infrastructure designed to provide housing for research animals with the most modern techniques, with particular attention being paid to animal welfare.

Bianca Debaets, Brussels State Secretary for Animal Welfare, has said she was shocked by the footage, and that her administration will carry out an extra inspection of the lab in question. The VUB has promised its full cooperation in the inspection. Debaets added that Brussels subsidises promising 3Rs research at the VUB and that animal research remains necessary in research, and should remain possible within a strict and well-enforced legislative framework.

European scientific community welcomes EU review of the Directive for the protection of animals used for research

PRESS RELEASE

LONDON, UK – 10 November, 2017

The European scientific community supports the view of the EU Commission, that the Directive on the protection of animals used in biomedical research is bringing significant benefits in animal welfare and a sound foundation for future best practice in the sector.

The European Animal Research Association (EARA), which represents more than 60 organisations across Europe in the biomedical research sector, has welcomed the Commission report, published today. The report reviews the requirements of Directive 2010/63/EU – all uses of live animals for research or education and testing must be carried out in compliance with the Directive.

In particular, the EU recognised that measures to improve transparency to the general public on the performance of research establishments in the areas of animal use and welfare are starting to have an effect. Requirements to publish non-technical summaries of the objectives and benefits of research projects, as well as annual statistical data, are also seen to have greatly improved openness in Member States. Continue reading

A trans-Atlantic transparency gap on animal experiments

This article was originally published in Science on 14 July 2017

The launch last month of a website called LabAnimalTour.org, which showcases animal experiments at several prominent institutions in the United Kingdom, is part of a trend toward increasing openness by researchers in a country that 2 decades ago was riven by sometimes-violent animal rights activism.

Since 2014, 116 life sciences organizations in the United Kingdom have signed onto a Concordat on Openness on Animal Research that commits them to communicating frankly and in detail about their animal experiments. Ninety Spanish institutions adopted a similar pledge last year, and universities in Belgium, France, and Germany are talking about moving in the same direction. Continue reading