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Agreement on transparency in animal research launched in Portugal

The public announcement of the Transparency Agreement on Animal Research in Portugal

will take place today (21 June 2018).

This initiative presented by the scientist Nuno Sousa has been proposed by the European Animal Research Association (EARA) and supported by the Portuguese Society of Sciences in Laboratory Animals (SPCAL) and is supported by 16 Portuguese institutions, from across the country, that use animals in biomedical and basic research.

The aim of the Transparency Agreement is to improve the Portuguese public’s understanding and acceptability of animal research by promoting openness and transparency. The signatories agreed to be more open and consistent with the public on their communication about the scientific, ethical and moral justifications for animal research.

This approach is based on the Transparency Agreement in Spain, launched in 2016, where

EARA co-operated with the Federation of Spanish Scientific Societies (COSCE) and the UK

Concordat on Openness on Animal Research.

Kirk Leech, of EARA, said: “This Transparency Agreement is a significant step forward for the

biomedical sector in Portugal. It will set high standards for openness and lead to a greater

understanding among the general public of the benefits of animal research, including the

contribution it makes to the studies of cancer and diseases of the brain.

“We also expect that most institutions in Portugal, that conduct animal research will eventually join the Agreement.”

The launch ceremony took place before the IV SPCAL Congress dedicated to the theme

“Quality and Transparency in Science involving Laboratory Animals”, in the School of Medicine and the Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS) at University of Minho, in Braga. There followed a presentation by Prof. Doctor Nuno Sousa, neuroscientist and President of the School of Medicine of the University of Minho; EARA Executive Director, Kirk Leech and the President of SPCAL, Prof. Doctor Ricardo Afonso.

Following the announcement there was a roundtable debate attended by the General

Director of Food and Veterinary (DGAV), Prof. Doctor Fernando Bernardo; the President of the National Committee for the Protection of Animals used for Scientific Purposes (CPAFC), Prof. Doctor Yolanda Vaz; the Member of the Assembly of the Republic from the Parliamentary Group of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Dr. Laura Magalhães; the Member of the Party for People Animals and Nature (PAN) National Jurisdiction Council, Dr. Sara Fernandes and the Member of the National Council of the Ecological Party “The Greens”, Dr. Mariana Silva.

This agreement builds on work in Portugal that began in 2017. A number of Portuguese research institutes met to discuss how to improve the Portuguese public’s understanding and acceptance of animal research. At this meeting were representatives from the Faculty of Sciences and Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Lisbon, Nova Medical School Lisbon, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, the Instituto de Medicina Molecular and the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown. At the meeting EARA proposed to explore the possibility of developing a Transparency Agreement to guide efforts on openness on animal research in Portugal


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