French universities, research centres and companies today signed a transparency agreement on animal research, with a commitment to speaking more openly to the public about their use in biomedical studies.
France becomes the fifth country to sign an agreement matching similar initiatives, co-ordinated and supported by EARA, in Belgium, Portugal, Spain and the UK.
Initiated by the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation and co-ordinated by the animal research advocacy body GIRCOR, the Transparency Charter has been signed by 30 institutions including CNRS, INRAE, INSERM.
In order to increase scientific knowledge, improve human and veterinary medical therapies as well as better protect humans, animals and the environment, high quality research, both basic and applied, requires a scientific approach that includes the use of animal models.
The charter signatories have therefore agreed to four commitments that will ensure the public receives comprehensive, clear and accurate information on the essential importance of animal models in research, as well as the strict regulatory framework that is followed. The four commitments are:
Create more clarity about how, when and why animals are used in research
Better communication with the media and the public about implementing the alternatives and reducing or refining animal testing
Offer the general public the opportunity to become acquainted with laboratory animal research and the regulations that apply to it, for example via open lab days
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Ivan Balansard, president of GIRCOR, said: "I am very proud of the massive support from public and private research organisations united by common ambitions for responsible research that is in line with the expectations of our society."
European Animal Research Association executive director, Kirk Leech, said: “EARA fully supports this important initiative by the French biomedical community, which is part of a growing movement in Europe to be more open about animal research.
“Animal studies have played a vital part in the fight against Covid-19 and greater transparency will help demonstrate this further to the general public, as well as the efforts of the sector to minimise animal use and to develop trustworthy alternatives.”
Ivan Balansard added: “Today, thanks to this transparency charter, the French scientific community is strengthening its relationship of trust with its citizens and showing its commitment to greater transparency on the use of animals in research.”