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King's signs Concordat on Openness on Animal Research

The Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK is published today, signed by 72 organisations from across the scientific sector including universities, charities, research councils and commercial companies.

King’s College London is one of 72 signatories who have undertaken to fulfil the Concordat’s four commitments:

1. We will be clear about when, how and why we use animals in research

2. We will enhance our communications with the media and the public about our research using animals

3. We will be proactive in providing opportunities for the public to find out about research using animals

4. We will report on progress annually and share our experiences

The Concordat is underpinned by an agreement that communication about animal research should provide accurate descriptions of the benefits, harms and limitations of research, be realistic about the potential outputs of such research and be open about its impact on animal welfare and the ethical considerations involved.  The document also strongly encourages signatories to consider whether they can offer access to their animal research facilities for accredited journalists and media organisations, MPs, and local school, patient and community groups. 

Under each of the commitments is a series of actions that signatories can take to fulfil them.  These include identifying spokespeople who will answer questions about an organisation’s use of animals; supporting researchers who would like to talk about their work using animals; including information on the role that animal research has played in announcements of scientific advances, and providing more images and videos of the reality of animal research.  

Professor Sir Robert Lechler, Vice-Principal (Health) at King’s College London said: 'The signing of the Concordat by King’s College London indicates our continuing desire to be open with the public about our use of animals in research.  Animal research enables us to better understand and treat a range of health conditions including cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Alternatives such as cell cultures are increasingly available, but these alternatives cannot fully mimic the complex interactions in the body and some experiments still require the use of animals. We are committed to maintaining high standards of care and welfare for our animals, and our Ethical Review Process aims to ensure that the principles of the 3Rs are considered in terms of reducing numbers, refining experiments and replacing animals with alternatives wherever possible.'

Wendy Jarrett, Chief Executive of Understanding Animal Research and Chair of the Working Group, said: 'For many years, the only ‘information’ or images that the public could access about animal research were provided by organisations opposed to the use of animals in scientific progress.  This is why many people still think that animal research means testing cosmetics and tobacco, despite the fact that these have been banned in the UK for more than 15 years.  The Concordat is an excellent opportunity to dispel these myths and give the public a chance to see the ground-breaking research that is being done on its behalf.'

Notes to editors

For further information, please contact Jenny Gimpel, PR Manager at King’s College London, on 0207 848 4334 or email jenny.gimpel@kcl.ac.uk 

For further information about King's visit the 'King's in Brief' pages.

More information on the use and welfare of animals in research at King’s College London can be found here.

More information on the Concordat is available from Understanding Animal Research.