The rules for the use of laboratory animals are strict. Animal experimentation can only take place if there is no alternative and, in some cases, is prescribed by law. However, any animal experiment requires careful ethical reflection, taking into account the value of research and the need to use animals. Under the aegis of the Belgian Wildlife Research Council (BCLAS) and in collaboration with the European Animal Research Association (EARA), which supports the biomedical sector in Europe, 18 Belgian universities and private companies have drawn up a transparency agreement that sets out their commitment to open communication on animal testing. The agreement includes four main obligations: – to provide adequate information to the media and the public on the conditions under which animal research is conducted and on the results achieved. 1. Better understand how, when and why animals are used in research 2. Better communicate with the media and the public on the implementation of alternatives and the reduction or refinement of animal experimentation 3. Give the general public the opportunity to familiarize themselves with laboratory animal research and related rules.
B, for example, open lab days 4. that Belgian universities, research centres and companies have signed a transparency agreement on animal research, in which they commit to communicating more openly about how animals are used in research. With the agreement on transparency, EARA and spcal want to cooperate to promote a climate of openness around animal research in Portugal. The four commitments ensure that the Transparency Agreement is a workable document for signatories to guide their progress towards opening up animal research. As a signatory to the Animal Research Transparency Agreement, UMONS is working with 18 Belgian research centres and companies to communicate openly on animal experiments, to inform the public about how animal testing improves health and on efforts to minimize it and develop better alternatives. Belgium is internationally known for its groundbreaking biological and biomedical research and basic research remains extremely important in understanding biological processes and diseases. Unfortunately, even today, animals are still needed for many parts of this research and all new drugs are tested on animals before obtaining human clinical trials. «Right now, we can`t give up animal testing,» says Liesbeth Aerts of Infopoint Animal Testing (IPPO). «Because animal welfare is important to all of us, researchers continue to focus on reducing and refining animal research, as well as replacing and developing alternatives (replace, reduce, refine) 3Rs.
«More openness will also clearly show the efforts of the public and private sectors to minimize animal use and develop better alternatives.» BCLAS is a professional and scientific association that aims to promote the replacement, reduction and refinement of the use of laboratory animals, by fuelling reflection, exchanging information, providing information and support to the scientific community, authorities and the public in order to lead to ethical, responsible and qualitative research that will further improve human and animal health. In this way, the SPCAL contacts different institutions so that they can sign the transparency agreement at no cost to the institution. The Portuguese agreement, launched last year at the SPCAL congress at Minho University, now has 19 signatures, including research centres, universities and contract research organisations from across the country.