A coalition of all the leading UK animal research institutions, coordinated by lobby group Understanding Animal Research, faced serious embarrassment today, said the BUAV, as their research project conducted by respected pollsters Ipsos-MORI showed strong support for far more transparency. The coalition is developing a ‘Concordat’ on openness.
“Participants wanted the animal research sector to subject itself to external scrutiny by those who have an interest in the animals’ welfare rather than by those who have a vested financial or scientific interest."
Participants, say IPSOS-MORI, believed that:
"Every researcher working with live animals must publish the total number of animals, total number of procedures, level and nature of suffering caused, in a box at the top of every publication of results… Participants particularly supported the idea that the suffering of animals should be linked to the publication of results."
The long-standing BUAV demand for the details of what is done to animals in research to be published gained strong support:
“The licences authorising animal research should be disclosed under a Freedom of Information request of the Home Office (but with personal details, the name of the establishment and genuinely confidential information withheld).”
Other feedback included:
It is clear that a BUAV film showing the results of undercover investigations at Cambridge University, Wickham Laboratories and Imperial College London had a profound effect on participants
All of these proposals from the IPSOS MORI study have been ignored. Instead, the draft “Concordat” contains a watered-down set of proposals on the UAR site, in effect promising only that animal research institutions should themselves give more informative press releases and conduct dialogues with the media.
BUAV CEO Michelle Thew commented, “While professing to support greater openness, the UAR and leading ‘Concordat’ members have been pressing the Government to extend the veto researchers currently enjoy under the Freedom of Information Act to universities , unsuccessfully lobbying the Justice Select Committee to recommend further restriction on public access to information. Meanwhile, they are quietly burying their own research calling for openness about what is actually done to animals.
“The only way to have a mature, informed debate is for the details of what is done to animals and why to be published alongside the supposed benefits in each study, so that the public can make up its own mind. Now that their own research has shown the public demand for this, it’s very disappointing that they have chosen to ignore it.”