The DFG and “Understanding Animal Research” advocate for transparent information and open communication about animal experiments in research / Global Action Day on 1 July
The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and the information platform “Understanding Animal Research” of the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany are launching their “Transparency Agreement for Transparent Information and Open Communi- cation about Animal Research in Germany” today, Thursday 1 July 2021. In the context of the in- itiative, research facilities from the field of life sciences undertake to transparently inform about animal experiments, to get actively involved in dialogue about animal research, as well as to exchange experiences and publicise activities. Among the 53 initial signatories of the initiative are universities, hospitals, non-university research institutions, corporations that conduct research, as well as scholarly societies and funding organisations - also Kiel University (CAU). Planning provides for further organisations to join in the future. All signatories are listed on the website that has been set up for the initiative. Examples of successful communication about animal research and information for supporting the signatories in realising their goals are also provided on the website. The initiative follows similar activities in other European countries such as Britain, France and Spain.
“Animal experiments are a topic that is subject to controversial public debate. This is why trans- parent communication about scientific and ethical aspects of animal research is of special im- portance in explaining to the general public that sadly not all animal experiments can be avoided in life science research to date. At the same time it must be emphasised that animal experiments are only carried out following comprehensive ethical consideration of the balance between scien- tific knowledge acquisition and potential suffering caused to the animals,” says DFG President Pro- fessor Dr. Katja Becker.
Professor Dr. Brigitte Vollmar, Chair of the DFG Senate Commission on Animal Protection and Experimentation, is very pleased about the large number of initial signatories: “The Transparency Agreement is already supported by 53 research institutions! We are confident that many other or- ganisations will fulfil their responsibility to provide transparent information about animal re- search, and will join the initiative. Support from the entire scientific community is vital to attach as much importance to the idea of transparency as possible.”
Professor Dr. Stefan Treue, head of the “Understanding Animal Research” steering group, thinks of the transparency initiative as another important step towards a more proactive approach to ani- mal research: “The Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany launched the ‘Understanding Animal Research’ platform in 2016 to signal that the public interest in animal experiments is taken seriously, and to provide a foundation that enables everybody to deal with the issue based on solid and comprehensive information. The initiative launched today builds on this. We want to support the signatories in advancing their transparent and open discussion about animals in re- search.”
Kiel University is also committed to these goals and supports the initiative as one of the first signatory institutions. "The CAU consistently provides information as part of its science communication when animal experiments are used, for example in clinical or basic research. Unfortunately, work on animals cannot be completely dispensed with for the prevention and control of diseases. However, every use of an animal or animal part in research and teaching is critically questioned. Our goals are to ensure the greatest possible level of animal welfare in the context of animal experiments and to make this work even more visible," emphasises CAU President Prof. Dr. Simone Fulda.
Upon its launch on 1 July, the Transparency Agreement joins the ranks of various communication campaigns around the world. The initiative is launched on the “Be Open about Animal Research Day”, an event organised by the European Animal Research Association (EARA), sharing exam- ples of openness and transparency in animal research. The accompanying social media campaign can be found via the hashtag #BOARD21.
The “Transparency Agreement Initiative” was started by the DFG’s Permanent Senate Commission on Animal Protection and Experimentation and the Understanding Animal Research platform that is coordinated by the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany. The Senate Commission is an inter-disciplinary committee of experts that is dedicated to the latest scientific developments and the complex ethical and legal framework of animal welfare and animal research. It provides ad- vice to the committees of the DFG, as well as policy-makers and authorities. Understanding Ani- mal Research is dedicating to providing the latest fact-based information about animal experi- ments in publicly funded research and helps to communicate the importance of animal research for society.
In line with the current state of research, animal experiments are an important component of the spectrum of experimental methods in biomedical research. Animal research is essential to gain fundamental knowledge and to allow for medically relevant development. While recent methodo- logical research allows for animal experiments to be replaced or reduced in scope by using alterna- tive methods in certain experimental approaches, it is currently not yet foreseeable that animal experiments can be replaced entirely. Such experiments will also be necessary in the future, to gain knowledge and to develop new therapeutic approaches and methods.
DFG Press and Public Relations,
Technical contact at the Secretariat of the DFG Senate Commission on Animal Experimental Research:
Dr. Valeska Stephan
University Medical Center Rostock
Technical contact at the DFG Head Office:
Dr. Andreas Görlich
Group Life Sciences 2: Microbiology, Immunology, Neurosciences
To the DFG Senate Commission on Animal Experimental Research and its activities:
To the website of Understanding Animal Experiments:
Further information on the "Be Open about Animal Research Day":