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Newcastle University signs animal agreement


Newcastle University has become a signatory to a new Concordat on Openess in Animal Research.

Opinion polling in 2012 showed that the public wants to know more about what goes on in animal research. Since then the bioscience community has worked together to set out how it will be more open about why and how it uses animals in research. 

The final Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK is published today, signed by 72 organisations from across the scientific sector, including Newcastle University.

These 72 signatories have undertaken to fulfil the Concordat’s four commitments:

1. We will be clear about when, how and why we use animals in research

2. We will enhance our communications with the media and the public about our research using animals

3. We will be proactive in providing opportunities for the public to find out about research using animals

4. We will report on progress annually and share our experiences

The Concordat is underpinned by an agreement that communication about animal research should provide accurate descriptions of the benefits, harms and limitations of research, be realistic about the potential outputs of such research and be open about its impact on animal welfare and the ethical considerations involved.  The document also strongly encourages signatories to consider whether they can offer access to their animal research facilities for accredited journalists and media organisations, MPs, and local school, patient and community groups.

Under each of the commitments is a series of actions that signatories can take to fulfil them.  These include identifying spokespeople who will answer questions about an organisation’s use of animals; supporting researchers who would like to talk about their work using animals; including information on the role that animal research has played in announcements of scientific advances, and providing more images and videos of the reality of animal research. 

The work was informed by a public dialogue project and a workshop with journalists. The draft Concordat was opened for a six-week public consultation at the end of 20133.

Geoff Watts, Chair of the Steering Group for the Concordat development process, said: “I am delighted that so many organisations have signed the Concordat. This widespread support for openness demonstrates the change in attitude that we have seen from the life science sector over the last few years. Developing this Concordat has been a long and careful process, and I am convinced that it will result in there being much more opportunity for the public to find out about the reality of animal research in this country.”

published on: 14 May 2014