The third edition of Be Open About Animal Research Day (#BOARD23) took place last Thursday (15 June) across EARA social media channels.
The 24-hour initiative was supported by the biomedical research community worldwide, with more than 230 partners taking part – the highest-ever participation – and more than 1,000 institutions, organisations or individuals ading their support.
Participants shared their examples of their openness in communicating about animal research to the public, including case studies, images, videos and events.
Here are some of the highlights of #BOARD23 this year:
In Europe, EARA member the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies held a webinar on the importance of animal studies in brain research, while a lecture on the value of zebrafish studies was hosted at the University of Wrocław, Poland, with Marta Migocka-Patrzałek and Magda Dubińska-Magiera (left), both from Wrocław and EARA member the Polish Zebrafish Society (see also their video Q&A).
Researchers at EARA member from the Translational Neuroscience Unit, Donders Institute of Radboud University, Netherlands, shared real-time photos and videos (see below, right) from their lab of their work with mice and rats. The day also marked the release of the first annual report of the Dutch Transparency Agreement (TA), which showed the progress made by signatories in communicating about animal research.
In Portugal, EARA member NOVA Medical School (NMS) contributed Q&A videos from Ana Isabel Moura Santos (also chair of the EARA Board), who spoke about the importance of #BOARD23 and the success of the Portuguese Transparency Agreement, and the science communication team. NMS also produced a case study video from Sandra Tenreiro, who described how she uses animals in her ageing research.
Also in Portugal, a video at the Coimbra Institute for Clinical and Biomedical Research (iCBR) demonstrated how researchers conduct animal studies by inviting viewers into its facilities and showing procedures, for example in the investigation of bladder cancer.
Spanish researchers at the Sant Pau Biomedical Research Institute (IIB Sant Pau) showed how they conduct animal research and follow the 3Rs, while members of the Spanish Societies for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Immunology, answered the question of why animals are still needed in these areas of research.
The University of Geneva, Switzerland, produced two videos for #BOARD23 highlighting its new animal facility and the animal studies it carries out, while in the UK, James Turner at the The Francis Crick Institute, described how his lab uses mice and opossums to study genetics and fertility.
Meanwhile, EARA member the University of Manchester, UK, showed how it enriches the lives of the guinea pigs it uses in its research and a detailed series of infographics about its use of other animals.
Several EARA members took part in a Q&A about the importance of open communication about animal research and the relevance of #BOARD. These included KU Leuven, Belgium, Merck KGaA, Germany, the Biomedical Primate Research Centre, Netherlands and the Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS) at the University of Minho, Portugal.
Elsewhere, the Philippine Association for Laboratory Animal Science did a Q&A with its members, while the Australian & New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Teaching (ANZCCART) and Australia and New Zealand Laboratory Animal Association (ANZLAA), both EARA members, released statements of support for #BOARD23.
Also giving its support in North America were institutions including EARA members the Canadian Association for Laboratory Animal Science and Transnetyx.
On EARA LinkedIn, our Danish member Ellegaard Göttingen Minipigs explained the vital role of minipigs to improving human health and quality of life, while Orsi Academy (also an EARA member) described its recent open day for staff and loved ones to try out their robotic surgical training (left).
Summing up the day, EARA executive director, Kirk Leech, said (see the video below):
“This is the third Be Open About Animal Research Day and once again it is great to see how openness about the use of animals in research and its importance is becoming embedded in the work of the biomedical community across the world.
“EARA hopes in future that many other institutions will be inspired by the examples given here.”