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Spanish controversy

Authorities at the Barcelona Science Park (PCB) and the University of Barcelona (UB) have set the record straight following recent criticism of a study using beagle dogs.

Protests by animal rights groups were sparked by news that GAT Therapeutics, at PCB, had hired the contract research organisation, Vivotecnia, to carry out a toxicity study of an antifibrotic drug in which beagle dogs were being used for testing.

Vivotecnia is currently under judicial investigation, following undercover video footage in 2021 that revealed poor animal welfare standards, however an inspection by the competent authority after the incident confirmed the company’s licence to operate.

The inspection verified that the laboratory has implemented all the preventive and corrective measures requested, such as security cameras and a veterinary team that performs reports on the welfare of the animals.

The statement by PCB/UB confirmed that the planned study was to develop an antifibrotic drug to treat liver fibrosis and myelofibrosis, why it was legally required to test on animals and that where possible some dogs would be rehomed after the study.

EARA executive director, Kirk Leech, said: “EARA fully supports the statement, which sets out very clearly that all the necessary legal requirements were met in the commissioning of this study.
“It would simply not be possible to produce valid conclusions about the safety and efficacy of the antifibrotic drug without the use of the tests on beagles.”

In a further supporting statement the Confederation of Scientific Societies of Spain (COSCE) explained the strict rules and regulations required to conduct animal studies in Spain.


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