The Transparency Agreement on Animal Research (TA) in Spain has shown further improvement in the growth of openness among Spanish institutions, in its sixth annual report published today.
There are now a record high 166 Spanish institutions as signatories of the Agreement (six more than last year), making it the largest agreement of its kind in the world.
All survey respondent signatory institutions (159) confirmed that they have a statement about their use of animals in research on their website – the clearest evidence of their commitment towards openness and transparency.
Three-quarters (76%) have participated in scientific dissemination activities (10% more than the last report) and 86% have provided access to external visitors (up 5%).
Close to three-quarters (72%) have published news on their institution's website related to animal research.
Since the first Report in 2018, reference to the use of animals in research in media releases has increased from 37% to 67%.
17% have an institutional policy on communicating animal models used in research in press releases and statements, and 34% intend to implement it in the future.
Also, 90% of respondents declared that they have sufficient support to implement the Agreement from their institution.
Concrete examples of these type of activities and relations with the media are included throughout the report.
We highlight that some institutions already offer virtual visits on their websites publicly or at open days. These are some links to virtual tours that have been collected:
EARA executive director, Kirk Leech, said: “It is impressive to see the continued growth of Spain’s Transparency Agreement on animal research and how more and more institutions are becoming confident about discussing their use of animals in biomedical research.”
The annual report also includes comments made by some of the signatories about the TA.
“In our constant interest in fulfilling the three commitments of the Agreement, we are reviewing and evaluating the initiatives that others centres have carried out to see how we can adapt them to our company and launch them, in order to become more transparent and visible year after year.”
The report was presented by Javier Guillén, member of the EARA Board and director for Europe and Latin America of AAALAC International; Lluis Montoliu, researcher from the CSIC at the National Center for Biotechnology, and from CIBERER-ISCII; and Amanda Sierra, Ikerbasque research professor and group leader at Achucarro Basque Center for Neuroscience.
Javier Guillén noted how the TA institutions have become more proactive, rather than reactive, in their communications, but still saw room for improvement.
The scientific community in Spain is increasingly aware that it has to provide society with information on why, what for, when and how animals are used in biomedical research. The annual report demonstrates the efforts being made to promote social awareness of the key role of animal research in the development of drugs and treatments.
Society benefits from the work of the scientific institutions that develop their activity through the use of animals, which are fundamental for the development of treatments and vaccines for any infection and have been decisive in the rapid development of the vaccines against in the Covid-19 pandemic.
By signing up to a national transparency agreement, the signatories agree to four commitments:
Speak with clarity about when, how and why animals are used in investigation.
Provide adequate information to the media and the general public about the conditions under which research using animals is carried out and the results obtained from them.
Develop initiatives that generate greater knowledge and understanding in society about the use of animals in scientific research.
Report annually on progress and share experiences.
Notes to editors
There are now more than 500 institutions worldwide that have signed a transparency agreement on animal research, from eight European countries - Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and two further countries Australia and New Zealand.
The report has been carried out by EARA through a survey that indicates the degree of compliance with the commitments made by the member organisations.