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EARA study of EU-based websites 2024 - results in France

A study of the websites of biomedical research institutions in France, by the European Animal Research Association (EARA), to assess how openly they discuss research using animals - shows much greater progress by the signatory bodies of the French Transparency Charter than those outside it.


The EARA Study of EU-based websites 2024, published today, analysed a total of 908 websites across the EU in 2023, and the report has now been presented to the EU Commission. In France, 133 institutional websites were assessed, both public and private bodies, such as universities, research centres and pharmaceutical companies, and the main findings were that:

  • Just a third (34%) of institutions have a recognisable statement about animal research on their website, in language clearly understandable to the public, which is the most important category assessed – in comparison, the figures for Spain is 78%, Netherlands 55% and Germany 50%.

  • In common with many other EU countries, just a quarter of French websites had content on statistical information about animal use at individual institutions (26%).

  • However, an analysis of the biomedical institutions in the French Transparency Charter on Animal Research( launched in 2021 and now with 42 signatory bodies in France) which have all pledged to be more open about their use of animals - shows much better results. Almost three quarters (71%) have a clear statement, with more than half displaying case studies about animal research, images of animals and facilities and extensive further information (including frequently asked questions (FAQs) and useful links).


This success of TA in Europe means there is also now a clear gap in website content between the six EU countries with a TA (Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain) and all the other EU countries without a TA - signatory institutions are now three times more likely to have a recognisable statement on animal research (79% compared to 26%) across the EU.

EARA Executive Director, Kirk Leech, said: “The French Transparency Charter has made good progress to encourage biomedical institutions to be more open about their use of animals in research and the benefits to society this brings. “We hope that the Charter will be signed by the majority of institutions in France as soon as possible.”

Since the previous EARA study in 2020, stricter criteria have been introduced into the assessment categories, so it is not possible to make comparisons. When EARA first began assessing websites, back in 2017, the presence of good quality institutional website content on animal research was scarce, since then significant improvements have meant that it has been possible to raise the benchmark.


EARA is now confident that, if an institution can reach the required standard in all categories, they will be providing the public with the comprehensive information they need to make informed opinions on the use of animals in biomedical research. 

For further information contact EARA Communications Manager, Bob Tolliday, btolliday@eara.eu on +44 (0)7970 132801


Notes to editors

 

About EARA

The European Animal Research Association (EARA) is an organisation that communicates and advocates on biomedical research using animals and provides accurate, evidence-based information. It has more than 170 member organisations, including private and public research bodies, universities, regional and national biomedical associations and suppliers, in 24 European countries (19 in the EU) and four other continents.


EARA’s vision is that animal research is understood by society as still a critical part of the scientific process, leading to an informed and beneficial climate for innovation and progress for the benefit of human and animal and environmental health.


Signatory institutions of Transparency Agreements, co-ordinated by EARA, commit to demonstrating openness and engaging in a dialogue with the public, to bring about a greater understanding of the reasons why animals are needed for research.


The website study has helped EARA identify areas of good practice on communications and openness in the life sciences sector and areas where improvement is needed. It will also help EARA provide guidance on best practice to all its member organisations and the sector as a whole across Europe and build on the advice already given to EARA members in the EARA Communications Handbook.


The study is therefore a tool that can then be used to encourage greater transparency in line with the recommendations made in Section 3 of the Review of Directive 2010/63/EU in November 2017.

 

The benefits of animal research

Most of the medicines we use have at some point involved research using animals. Animals are essential in research on Covid-19 for understanding the virus, and for assessing potential drugs and vaccines. They will help millions with conditions such as cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord damage and parasitic infections like malaria. There are three main reasons why animals are used in research:


  • To advance scientific understanding

  • To develop solutions to medical problems

  • To test medicines and vaccines in order to protect the safety of people, animals and the environment.


Animals are used when there is a need to find out what happens in the whole living body, which is far more complex than the sum of its parts. It is very difficult, and in most cases simply not yet possible, to develop non-animal methods to replace the use of living animals.


1 Comment


Kennedy Ira
Kennedy Ira
Jun 10

I think there will be many other countries whose research will have the same results as France. baldi's basics

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