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Belgium’s first report on use of animals in research hailed


Biomedical research institutions have made “good progress” towards openness and transparency on use of animals

Advocates for the responsible use of animals in research have hailed Belgium’s first report in a new annual series on the issue, saying it shows that biomedical institutions in the country have made “good progress” towards openness and transparency in their communication with the public.

Published on 17 June, the report assesses the efforts of the 13 signatory institutions to the 2020 Transparency Agreement on Animal Research in Belgium.

Coordinated by advocacy organisation the European Animal Research Association (Eara), the agreement has four commitments, including to improve communications with the public and share experiences on animal research.

The survey revealed that all but one of the public and private institutions signed up to the agreement have a publicly accessible statement on their website explaining their involvement with animal research.

It also found that most institutions promote internal communication on the subject with talks, presentations and newsletters.

But it revealed that only a third provide images of the animals used in their research, which was identified as an area for improvement by the report.

Eara executive-director Kirk Leech said the transparency agreement in Belgium had made “significant” first steps towards greater openness about the use of animals in research. He added: “A proper discussion about the importance of using animal models can only help the public debate on this subject.”

Belgian institutions signed up to the agreement include the drug company GSK, Hasselt University, Ghent University and the Université Libre de Bruxelles.

The transparency agreement is one of seven in Europe, with France, Germany, Portugal, Spain and the UK also having one in place.