UK researchers pledge transparency in animal research


Seventy-two research organisations in the UK have signed the new Concordat on Openness in Animal Research – a pledge to offer the public more information about studies involving animals.

The signatories – which include universities, charities and research councils – have promised to fulfil four commitments outlined in the concordat: being clear about when, how and why animals are used in research; enhancing communications with the media and the public about research using animals; providing opportunities for the public to find out about this research; and reporting on progress annually. The document also strongly encourages signatories to allow journalists, MPs and members of the public to visit their animal research facilities.

For years, the research community has been reluctant to release information about the nature of animal experiments because of legal restrictions and concerns about being targeted by animal rights activists. The Concordat on Openness was proposed in 2012 by several bioscience organisations as a way to improve transparency.

‘This widespread support for openness demonstrates the change in attitude that we have seen from the life science sector over the last few years,’ said Geoff Watts, chair of the steering group for the concordat development process. ‘Developing this concordat has been a long and careful process, and I am convinced that it will result in there being much more opportunity for the public to find out about the reality of animal research in this country.’


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