Continuing its efforts to promote greater transparency in animal research, EARA collaborated with the University of Copenhagen (KU), in Denmark, at an event held yesterday.
The event, Improving Openness in Animal Research in Denmark, began with EARA executive director, Kirk Leech, underscoring the pivotal role of EARA in encouraging open discussions about animal research across Europe, through its events and projects, and emphasised the challenges that the scientific community currently faces, including the recent European Citizens' Initiative petition that callled for the phasing out of all animal research which was rejected by the European Commission.
Highlighting the importance of animal research, Klas Abelson, from KU (pictured), shed light on his group research on the refinement of the use of animals in biomedical research, namely in pain research, which includes improved methodology for animal procedures in scientific settings.
Furthermore, Sara Wells, from the Mary Lyon Centre, UK, delivered a presentation about the efforts of her centre, integrated into Medical Research Centre Hartwell, to promote transparency in communicating animal research, such as the 360º virtual tours at their animal facilities and also her experience in discussing the topic with policymakers. About the event Sara said: "It was a very interesting day, sharing with European colleagues’ different approaches and concerns to openness. I am hoping that hearing about our positive experiences in the United Kingdom was useful to the audience as they develop their future strategies."
Thomas Fahrenkrug, from the communications and media team at KU, provided an overview of the institution's communication strategy concerning animal research and its interaction with various media platforms.
The panel discussion that ensued delved into the ethical and scientific complexities surrounding animal research. The attendees actively participated, posing pertinent questions that explored the impact of transparency at an institutional level. There was a useful discussion focusing on what role caretakers and other support staff can play in improving public understanding of the use of animals, particularly with family and friends.
Expressing his enthusiasm for the event, Kirk Leech, commented: “The productive discussions at the University of Copenhagen reflect the growing interest in Denmark to enhance public engagement and transparency on animal research. EARA is committed to supporting the Danish research community and the University in this crucial endeavour.”