Tag Archives: UAR

How the European Animal Research Association was created

This article is reprinted from the Understanding Animal Research website marking the tenth anniversary of UAR.

Understanding Animal Research has a small staff and a clear remit to help the UK public to understand why and how animals are used in research while supporting its member organisations and maintaining an operating environment that allows properly regulated animal research to continue in this country. So when in 2012 UAR started to receive requests for support from biomedical research organisations in Italy, Germany and elsewhere in mainland Europe, it reluctantly had to say that we did not have the resources to give assistance.

The decision by several ferry companies to stop transporting research animals across the English Channel, also in 2012, compounded the feeling that activists across Europe were gaining the upper hand and beginning to exert pressure on the supply chain for our sector.

A meeting convened by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) in Brussels, in early 2013, saw UAR Chief Executive, Wendy Jarrett, and Kirk Leech, then of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, volunteer to co-ordinate efforts to create a project aimed at countering this rise in activism, improve public understanding of animal research and open up new transport routes for animals between the UK and the rest of Europe.

UAR worked closely with ABPI and colleagues from GIRCOR, an association communicating on animal research in France, to hold a meeting at the Federation for Laboratory Animal Science Associations (FELASA) congress in the summer of 2013. This led to the agreement of several companies and institutions, in particular Covance, Ellegaard Gottingen Minipigs, Marshall Bioresources, Harlan, Farmindustria and AstraZeneca, to provide support and funding for a three-year project.

The European Animal Research Association (EARA) was created and UAR hired Kirk Leech as EARA’s Interim Director and invited key individuals from the supporting organisations to form a Board of Management.

UARs took legal advice on drafting the Memorandum of Understanding and Articles of Association for the new organisation and incorporated EARA at Companies House on 5 March, 2014 and Kirk Leech was appointed Executive Director of EARA in April, 2014.

From that point on, EARA was a separate entity from UAR, although the two organisations share offices in London and other overheads in order to get the best value for all our member organisations.

Further staff joined EARA from 2014 onwards and it currently has a staff of three. In addition to Kirk, Bob Tolliday is Communications and Media Manager and Ana Barros is Communications Officer.

Early successes for EARA were the formation of an animal research advocacy organisation in Italy – Research4Life; an invitation to join the Presidential Commission on Animal Research in basic science at the Max Planck Society and the creation of the EARA social media brand on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and subsequently Twitter feeds for Belgium, Portugal, France, Germany, Italy, the Netheralands and Spain.

EARA has played a pivotal role in opening up research institutions in the Netherlands and Spain for visits by TV film crews. It also successfully mobilised the European scientific community to oppose the 2015 European Citizens’ Initiative, hosting and co-ordinating the joint statement regarding Directive EU/2010/63 on the protection of animals used in research, with support from over 300 institutions.

Following the success of the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK, EARA has worked with organisations in Spain, Portugal, Belgium and Switzerland to help develop similar transparency agreements in those countries and continues to support further moves towards transparency across the EU and more widely.

In 2017 EARA’s members decided that the three-year project had been so successful that the Association should continue as a permanent organisation.

More recent work has included the formation of the EARA Brexit Taskforce to represent the European biomedical sector in negotiations with UK and EU officials on the future of laboratory animal transport following the UK’s exit from the EU. EARA has also partnered with high-level stakeholders, and collaborated with US-based advocacy groups to find a long-term solution to the effective boycott on US transport of laboratory animals, as this also has an impact on EU biomedical research.

It has also collaborated with the European Commission on a number of transparency initiates including improving the language used in Non-Technical Project Summaries and also an EU-wide study of the openness of websites of institutions where animal research takes place or is supported.

Looking ahead EARA will continue to help establish new national networks, particularly in Germany, and put in place more national transparency agreements across Europe. It will use the EARA network to aid the sector’s attempts to ensure the full and correct implementation of EU Directive 2010/63 and monitor the impact of Brexit on EARA and its stakeholders.

To find out more about EARA or to subscribe to its News Digest, please contact Bob Tolliday, EARA Communications and Media Manager btolliday@eara.eu

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.

EARA pinpoints potential problems for transport of animals in a no-deal Brexit

EARA has highlighted the issues that could affect the efficient transportation of animals and animal related products used for research if there is a no-deal Brexit.

The submission to the UK Parliament Science and Technology Committee inquiry on Brexit, Science and Innovation: preparations for a no-deal by the EARA Brexit Taskforce, examined the import and export to and from the UK, of purpose-bred research animals, biological samples from research animals (blood, tissues, organs, embryos), medical and pharmaceutical supplies, plus supplies of specialised animal feed and research diets.

EARA Executive Director, Kirk Leech said: “Our main concern is that any logistical problems with transport and processing times, arising from lack of preparation for a no-deal Brexit, will have a negative effect on scientific investigation and animal welfare.”

Among the issues raised were: Continue reading

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.“


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