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EARA supports call to end embargo by transport providers in the UK and US on animal research

Updated: Apr 3, 2020

For immediate release 26/03/2020: Further information contact EARA Communications Manager, Bob Tolliday, o26+44 (0)7970 132801

The European Animal Research Association (EARA) and the US National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR) are today jointly calling on the UK and US governments to engage with the transports sector to ensure that the research community has access to the animal models they need.

In the UK and US, long standing restrictions imposed by cross border transport providers, including air, sea and rail, have made it increasingly difficult for the biomedical community to move the research animals it needs to develop treatments and cures for the coronavirus and other life threatening and debilitating diseases.​

EARA has now called on the UK Government, especially given this current emergency, to engage with the UK transport sector to end their research animal transport embargo.

EARA executive director, Kirk Leech, said: “As the world scrambles to better understand and combat the coronavirus pandemic, the importance of global biomedical collaboration has never been more important. ​

"Without the ability to move research models from one country or continent, to another, or from a breeder to a research institution, crucial scientific research, seeking new treatments will be disrupted."

In its letter to Vice-President Mike Pence and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, NABR urged the US government to streamline animal research in order to develop vaccines and cures for the novel coronavirus.

NABR President, Matthew Bailey, said: "We urge the Trump administration to take immediate action to eliminate policies, which discriminate against the transportation of animals intended for research if they are to operate in the airspace of the United States."

Mr Bailey went on the explain that even in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, these groups continue to pressure airlines that are aiding American efforts to develop treatments for the disease.

“Access to laboratory animals is necessary to develop and ensure the safety of drugs and medical devices. Research animals are vital to understanding the genetic and molecular pathways that lead to disease, promising areas for research leading to new treatments for devastating diseases," he added.


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 also takes responsibility for the choice and sustainability in the global transport of animals for medical research. It has more than 60 partner organisations, including private and public research bodies, universities, regional and national biomedical associations and suppliers, across 14 European countries.

EARA’s vision is to enhance the understanding and recognition of research involving animals across Europe, allowing for a more constructive dialogue with all stakeholders and a more efficient climate for research in Europe

The benefits of animal research

Most of the medicines we have come from animal research. Often science doesn’t need to use animals, but for many key questions they are crucial. 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.

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