“Animal Research: Time to talk!” Kirk Leech, European Animal Research Association (EARA)Londres, SECAL Meeting 2021
How Openness and Transparency about the ways in which animals are used in scientific and medical research can improve public acceptance and understanding.
In a number of European countries, public and private research institutions have made the decision to adopt new persuasive practices and policies to engage with the public on the benefits of using animals in scientific and biomedical research.
There are now six national transparency agreements in Spain, Portugal, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK (with Switzerland to follow) where research institutions have collectively agreed to commitments on pursuing openness.
These commitments are that institutions; will be proactive in seeking opportunities to explain when, how and why they use animals in research; will provide information to the media and the general public about the conditions under which research using animals is carried out and will explain the benefits obtained from using them compared to other methods of research; will develop initiatives that generate greater public knowledge and understanding about the use of animals in scientific research; will place an animal welfare statement on their institution’s website.
The belief is that being more open and transparent about their use of animals in research could help improve public understanding and acceptance. The need for a collective commitment is also important. There is growing political pressure in Europe to transition towards ‘animal free science’. The research community needs to make a stonger and clearer public case for the use of aniamls in research. This presentation will evaluate the experience in these countries, and explain why we need to talk about animal research.