On Friday, June 23rd, an open conference on animal research, organized by the PRBB-PCB Animal facility Alliance, took place at the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB). The event was in line with the European Transparency Initiative on the use of animals in scientific experimentation. The PRBB Conference Hall, with a capacity of 250 people, was completely full, and the public (researchers, veterinarians, animal technicians, communicators) was excitedly waiting for the speeches of three experts in animal research: Emma Sánchez, delegate of The European Animal Research Association (EARA), Carlos López-Otin, a biochemist at the University of Oviedo, and Mara Dierssen, a neurobiologist at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG). The speakers were invited by Juan Martín Caballero, director of the PRBB-PCB Animal Facility Alliance.
My collegue Maruxa Martínez-Campos, writes in her blog “The science factor” a summary of the talks and her take-home messages, including:
- Human biology is very complex and animal models are essential to establish causal relationships in health and disease, rather than just correlatives
- Experimenting with animals is very expensive, so nothing is done at random; instead the need for each animal is thought very thoroughly
- There’s an urgent need to consider sex in experiments with animals (do them both in male and female)
- Researchers and research centres must be more transparent about animal research: explain what they do, how and why, how many animals they use, etc.
- Information needs to be contextualised and needs to come with good communication in order not to be counterproductive
A new agreement led by COSCE (Confederation of Scientific Societies of Spain) and EARA on transparency in the use of animals in scientific experimentation in Spain is helping take the first steps to ensure the right communication.
You can read the whole post here. You can also find out more about the animal research practices at the PRBB in this website (in Catalan).