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Portugal taking ‘first steps’ to openness on animal research

Study finds 53 per cent of organisations include animal welfare statement on their website

Portuguese research institutions have taken “significant first steps” to providing more accessible and transparent information on their use of animals in research, according to a study by the European Animal Research Association.

The Eara study is the first such evaluation since Portuguese institutions signed a transparency agreement on animal research in 2018, committing to more clarity and public communication on the issue. Based on feedback collected from 19 institutions over two years, it found that the majority of the institutions have engaged the public.

Eara found that 84 per cent of the signatories said they had conducted internal lectures or presentations on animal research, while 74 per cent included the topic in their open days. It found that 68 per cent reported publishing news about scientific discoveries that relied on animal studies.

But the study also found areas for improvement. Only just over half of the organisations—53 per cent—said they included a position on animal welfare on their website. Images of animals used in research were provided by 41 per cent, while only 21 per cent listed non-technical summaries of research projects on their websites and the same portion included statistics on how much animal research they conducted.

Eara said it was willing to work with the nine signatories that have not yet published a position statement, but that if they continue to fail in this regard it would advise them to step down from the agreement until they are able to do so.