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Room for improvement in Portugal’s animal research

Report says information sharing and communication have dropped among signatories of national agreement

Portugal has scope to improve its transparency around the use of animals in research, a report has found.

The European Animal Research Association, which advocates for the responsible use of animals in research until replacements can be found, this week published its third evaluation of practices adopted by the Portuguese biomedical institutions that are signatories to a national Transparency Agreement on Animal Research.

The agreement was drafted in 2019 in coordination with Eara, building on previous versions; now more than 20 institutions have signed up to commitments, including being clear about when, how and why animals are used in their research.

Eara found that 94 per cent of the signatories had a statement on animal research on their websites, and that an increased number now publish images of their animal research facilities and the animals themselves.

However, it identified “areas needing improvement”, flagging that only a quarter of signatories had published non-technical summaries of research using animals, while only half had reported giving lectures to promote internal communication around animals in research. Both figures marked a decrease on previous evaluations.

“The organisation of presentations and lectures is one of the main means of promoting openness, so there should be a special commitment from the signatories to reorganise this type of initiative on a regular basis,” according to Eara.