Today saw the release of the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK, a commitment by more than 70 organisations to be more open with how they use animals in research.
The Biochemical Society is one of the organisations to sign up to this Concordat. We signed because we believe the public should have accurate and up-to-date information about how animals are used in research and the role they play in scientific discovery.
The Concordat lays out four commitments each signatory will make:
- We will be clear about when, how and why we use animals in research
- We will enhance our communications with the media and the public about our research using animals
- We will be proactive in providing opportunities for the public to find out about research using animals
- We will report on progress annually and share our experiences
As a learned society, rather than a lab or research institution, we don’t conduct any research ourselves. But we play an important role in advancing science and disseminating research, and through this can help promote the ideals behind the Concordat.
For example if an author submits a paper describing research using animals to a journal owned by the Society, including the Biochemical Journal, Clinical Science and Bioscience Reports, we ask that they include experimental details of the procedures and of anaesthetics used.
We also require a statement indicating that experiments are carried out as mandated by the appropriate legal authority and encourage authors to use the ARRIVE Guidelines on reporting of in vivo experiments.
We have publically endorsed the Society of Biology’s position statement on animal research. This lays out our belief that “research using animals has directly contributed to medical and veterinary benefits”.
It also outlines our commitment that the use of animals in research should only be used “when properly regulated and when no alternatives are available” and our active support of “progress towards a reduction in the use of animals”.
The Concordat is not binding for our members, but we will be promoting and advocating it within our membership base of almost 7000 scientists and researchers. This is an opportunity to encourage all our members to think about how they communicate their testing methods.
We recognise that some people oppose, or are uncertain about, the use of animals in research. By signing the Concordat we hope to help provide clear and honest information that will let people reach their own informed conclusion.