The European Animal Research Association (EARA) was established to better inform the European public and political decision makers of the continued need for, and benefits of, the humane use of animals in biomedical research. We therefore wish to comment on the undercover video footage from Vivotecnia that has been featured by the media in Spain and elsewhere this week.
The use of animals has played an important role in the safety testing of new medicines and chemicals that may affect human health, for instance, during the Covid-19 pandemic, research involving animals has played a crucial role in the development of successful vaccines. In addition, under existing EU legislation, safety testing on animals before human trials is a legal requirement, with the welfare of the animals given the highest priority.
EARA has viewed with deep concern the video footage taken from inside the laboratories of Vivotecnia, in Madrid, Spain, a toxicology contract research organisation. Whilst the footage has been edited - and we would ask that the unedited footage be made publicly available - EARA recognises that what has been shown so far reveals examples of unacceptable animal welfare standards applied to a number of different animal species.
Vivotecnia, while not a member of EARA, is a signatory of the Transparency Agreement on the use of animals in scientific research in Spain, promoted by the Federation of Scientific Societies in Spain (COSCE). We are therefore pleased to hear that the management of Vivotecnia is undertaking an investigation of the undercover film and the clear failures in their animal welfare training, practices and management, and that it has reported the existence of the film to the Competent Authority in Madrid, requesting a voluntary inspection.
Nevertheless, EARA believes Vivotecnia needs to go further, and allow a full and independent investigation of its animal welfare practices, in line with its existing pledges about animal welfare.
We would ask that this is done as quickly as possible in respect of the thousands of researchers and research institutes in Europe involved in the honourable endeavour of biomedical research, which is in line with strict standards of animal welfare.
Kirk Leech EARA Executive Director
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