Have the non-technical summaries of animal experiments in Europe improved? An update

Main Article Content

Katy Taylor, Tilo Weber, Laura Rego Alvarez
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Abstract

Following a review of the Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes in the European Union (EU), non-technical project summaries (NTS) of all approved projects must be published in a central database using a standard template. Our initial review of the NTS reported in ALTEX in 2018 had found the NTS to be deficient in their accessibility and quality, notably the adverse effects section where the harms to the animals are meant to be described. Here we repeat our review to see if these legislative changes have improved the accessibility and quality of the NTS. As before we focused on the NTS from the United Kingdom (UK) and Germany; even though the UK has left the EU it is using the same template. We found significant improvement in the reporting of five of the six elements we identified as essential to the predicted harms section. However, there was no significant improvement in the reporting of adverse effects. Only 41% of German NTS and 48% of UK NTS are fully reporting this important element of the predicted harms section. In our view, researchers need support in describing the impact of their research on the animals and to assist here we include a checklist for competent authorities and a list of suggested terminology for standard administration and sampling procedures. Unless the NTS improve further, their utility as a tool for sharing of good practices in the 3Rs or to support evidence-based policy making will remain limited.


Plain language summary
All countries of the European Union (EU) are required to publish “non-technical summaries” (NTS) of research projects that use animals. To improve transparency, the public must have access to NTS and understand their content. Our previous review found that the information provided in the NTS was lacking in many cases. This is preventing a full understanding of what animals experience during experiments. In particular, NTS often failed to fully describe what procedures the animals would be subjected to, how often they would take place, how long they would last, and the harm they would cause. Here we repeat our review to see if recent legislative changes, including the requirement for NTS to be published in a central database using a standard template, have made a difference. While there has been some improvement in reporting, many NTS still fail to adequately describe the harm that animals will experience.

Article Details

How to Cite
Taylor, K., Weber, T. and Rego Alvarez, L. . (2024) “Have the non-technical summaries of animal experiments in Europe improved? An update”, ALTEX - Alternatives to animal experimentation. doi: 10.14573/altex.2310181.
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References

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