Tag Archives: UK

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:

• The Department of the Environment Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) would need significant new resourcing to enable the new checks required for entry into the UK, through Border Inspection Posts, for animals and biological samples transiting through the EU from outside the EU.
• In a no-deal scenario, exports of biological samples would require compliance with customs formalities and export health certificates (EHCs) for each individual shipment for all animal species. And as a third party to the EU, the UK will need to negotiate the content of each certificate separately with every member state.
• New process requirements will also be needed for the import of pathogen-free eggs for vaccine manufacture.

Among the recommedations made in the submission, the Taskforce said that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the UK should cease applying stricter EU measures requiring the issuance of import permits for CITES Appendix II species, which include monkeys.

There was also concern that DEFRA does not have the resources to cope with the demand for Export Health Certficates (EHCs) and CITES permits.

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Notes to editors
The European Animal Research Association (EARA) has brought together a group of organisations under a Brexit Taskforce, that supports and represents the interests of European biomedical research using animals. The Taskforce comprises the following organisations: EARA, AnimalHealth Europe, Charles River Laboratories, Covance, Ellegaard Göttingen Minipigs, Envigo, GSK, Marshall BioResources, Wellcome Sanger Institute, UK National Office of Animal Health and Understanding Animal Research.

About EARA
The European Animal Research Association (EARA), is a pan-European organisation that communicates and advocates in support of biomedical research using animals, by providing accurate and evidence-based information. We aim to educate the public on the benefits of animal research, partner with research stakeholders, and promote the creation and development of national networks. EARA was created by academic institutions, associations and the life science industry to provide a European platform for the public and other external stakeholders to be informed and learn about animal research, its benefits and its limitations.

The first ten years of the UK’s Understanding Animal Research

by UAR Chief Executive Wendy Jarrett

Understanding Animal Research (UAR) reached its tenth birthday on 1 January 2019 and we have been engaging and informing people about how and why animals are used in research for a decade. So we thought that it would be a good time to have a look back at some of the highlights of the past decade and remind ourselves of how UAR came about and what it has achieved so far.

UAR has inherited the DNA of two parent UK organisations – the Research Defence Society (RDS) and the Coalition for Medical Progress (CMP). RDS was founded by Stephen Paget in January 1908 as a response to the rising profile of organisations opposed to the use of animals in research, primarily the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) and the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV, now known as Cruelty Free International). The group that became NAVS had been founded by Frances Power Cobbe in 1875 and had influenced some of the provisions in the 1876 Cruelty to Animals Act. Power Cobbe also set up the BUAV in 1898 having become disenchanted with the direction NAVS was taking.

Over the following century, RDS provided support to scientists using animals in their research. This involved arguing against legislation to restrict or ban certain areas of animal use and in some cases raising funds to support researchers in legal actions. Following the death of its founder in 1926, RDS set up the annual Stephen Paget Memorial Lecture in 1927. For the 100 years of its existence the RDS consistently advocated for the continued use of animals in research, often in the face of extremist activity by animal rights protestors.

In 2003, the Coalition for Medical Progress was launched, in the UK, with the objective of reaching the general public with information about how animal research had contributed to their medicines, their medical procedures and the treatments available to their pets and livestock. CMP produced leaflets for distribution through GP surgeries, organised access for BBC News crews to film in animal facilities and placed articles in media outlets linking animal research with patient benefits.

By early 2008 many of the funders of both RDS and CMP were asking whether two separate organisations were still necessary, and whether the work of both could not be done by a single, new entity. Wider consultation with the members of RDS and CMP and other major stakeholders led to the decision to merge. Representatives of the CMP Board and RDS Council met regularly over the summer and autumn of 2008 to agree the legal details of ‘NewOrg’ as it was called for several months. A large workshop was held at the Wellcome Trust with all the people who had an interest in what ‘NewOrg’ would be called, what its objectives would be and the ‘look and feel’ of its identity.

Voting on a number of potential names for the new organisation led to the selection of ‘Understanding Animal Research’. All agreed that the new name needed to ‘say on the tin what it did’, in a way that neither RDS nor CMP had done. The word ‘understanding’ was also felt to be important: this new body would not be trying to encourage people to like animal research, the objective would be helping them to understand it. (Another criterion for picking a new name had also been that it would not be shortened to a three-letter acronym in the way that RDS and CMP had been. But two out of three isn’t bad!)

We also worked to develop a new logo, website and brand identity for UAR that would set it apart from its predecessors. Again, it was agreed that an animal should be included in the logo along with the name, helping to demonstrate clearly what UAR was all about.

After six months of meetings, consultations, design briefs and website development, the bank accounts were merged on 31st December 2008 and UAR officially came into being on 1st January 2009. Since then we have consistently worked towards improving public understanding of why and how animals are used in research.

Future articles on our website will cover the development of the Concordat; setting up the European Animal Research Association; our project to provide information about animal research to UK vet students; our policy and lobbying work; creating Labanimaltour.org and ten years of speaking with young people in schools, among many other projects.

Reprinted from the UAR website

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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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.

EARA Brexit briefing published

EARA Brexit Taskforce Briefing on the potential implications for animal science in the UK and EU stemming from Brexit

EARA has brought together a group of organisations under a Brexit Taskforce. The Taskforce is comprised of the following organisations – EARA, ABPI, AnimalHealth Europe, Charles River Laboratories, Covance, Ellegaard Göttingen Minipigs, Envigo, GSK, Marshall BIoResources, National Office of Animal Health, Understanding Animal Research and the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

The Task Force has produced this briefing which addresses both the complexities and possible opportunities for animal science in Europe stemming from Exit. Read the briefing here

The aim of this initiative is to allow the wider biomedical sector the opportunity to raise concerns with both the 27 (through EU engagement) and UK authorities on outstanding and unresolved issues over Brexit and animal science. If you have any questions about the briefing or believe that your organisation would benefit from joining the Task Force please contact us at info@eara.eu

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Brain Prize winner emphasises essential need for animal research into Alzheimer’s

Basic researchers into Alzheimer disease awarded major scientific prize

Today it was announced that the 2018 Brain Prize will be awarded to Bart De Strooper (VIB, KU Leuven and University College London), Michel Goedert (University of Cambridge), Christian Haass (DZNE, Ludwig-Maximilians-University) and John Hardy (UCL) for their groundbreaking research on the genetic and molecular basis of Alzheimer’s disease.

The four researchers will share the 1 million EUR prize awarded by the Lundbeck Foundation.
This year’s Brain Prize winners have made essential contributions, in basic research, to the genetic and molecular knowledge of Alzheimer’s, mapping new avenues for the diagnosis, treatment and possibly even prevention of this neurodegenerative disorder. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, affecting approximately 30 million people worldwide. Continue reading

EARA backs UK commitment to animal welfare

The European Animal Research Association (EARA) has backed the UK government’s recent statements on its commitment to animal welfare.

The UK Parliament recently voted not to carry over Article 13 of the Lisbon treaty into UK law as part of Brexit legislation – Article 13 states that ‘since animals are sentient beings, [countries must] pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals’. This was seen by opponents as an attempt to undermine current standards of animal welfare in the UK and led to a reaffirming of the UK position by the Prime Minister, Theresa May.

In Parliament she said: “The Animal Welfare Act 2006 provides protection for all animals capable of experiencing pain or suffering which are under the control of man. But I reaffirm to that we will be ensuring that we maintain and enhance our animal welfare standards when we leave the EU.”

Commenting on the controversy EARA Executive Director, Kirk Leech, said: “The current debate has more to do with political manoeuvring than animal welfare.The UK is among the countries with the highest animal welfare standards in Europe and we welcome the UK Government’s stated intention to continue to enhance this in future. Both the Animal Welfare Act and the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act, 1986 are dedicated to protecting sentient animals.”

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