The Royal Society of Biology is a signatory to the Concordat on openness on the use of animals in research in the UK making a commitment to be as open as possible with the wider public about the involvement in the use of animals in scientific, medical and veterinary research in the UK.
In October 2012, over 40 organisations signed a Declaration on Openness on Animal Research, recognising the need to be more open and transparent about why and how animals are used in research and identifying the need for a Concordat to be developed to support this. This Concordat sets out more detailed goals for openness and transparency in order to meet the needs of the public and to foster better understanding as well as trust.
Organisations that signed the Concordat will work to fulfil the four commitments:
- Will be clear about when, how and why we use animals in research
- Will enhance our communications with the media and the public about our research using animals
- Will be proactive in providing opportunities for the public to find out about research using animals
- Will report on progress annually and share our experiences
The Royal Society of Biology was one of a number of organisations involved in the development of this Concordat. The work was led by Understanding Animal Research (UAR) with the support of a Working and a Steering Group representing academia, industry, small and medium enterprises, charities and other research funders, as well as patient and medical groups. A Public Dialogue project run by Ipsos MORI during the development of this agreement provided insight into what the wider public need in order to make a more informed judgement on the use of animals in research.
Dr Mark Downs, chief executive of the Royal Society of Biology, says: "With this Concordat we want to ensure that people have up-to-date and correct information about the use of animals in research. This knowledge is fundamental to discussions about why animal research is carried out, how decisions are taken and what measures are in place to ensure the best outcomes. By developing and signing this Concordat, we are signalling our commitment to this communication.
"Good science and good welfare must go together to gain the essential knowledge we need for medical advances and to save lives."
The Royal Society of Biology does not carry out or fund animal research directly but supports the use of animals in research under UK regulations and when no alternatives are available. Scientists who conduct research on animals need to be appropriately trained beforehand in order to apply for a Home Office licence. The Royal Society of Biology accredits these training courses.
In terms of research, we actively support the progress towards reduction, refinement and replacement of animals used in research (referred to as the 3Rs) wherever possible. The most recent NC3Rs/Society of Biology Symposium 2013 demonstrated the energy and effort being given to these developments.
Formulating policy on issues related to animal research and teaching is the main focus of our Animal Science Group, a Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Royal Society of Biology, representing a broad spectrum of UK bioscience organisations (e.g. academia, industry, charities and research funders). We are also a founder member of the UK Bioscience Sector Coalition, which came together in response to European Directive 2010/63/EU on the Protection of Animals Used in Scientific Research.
Queries about the Concordat in relation to the Royal Society of Biology may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For general enquiries about the Concordat and for organisations wishing to sign the Concordat, please contact Understanding Animal Research.
Page updated 26.04.16