Mice in scientific research facilities are often kept alone and in their own faeces without anywhere to hide or burrow as they would in the real world. Image Credit: We Animals Media

Openness Agreement on Animal Research and Teaching in Australia Launched

The Australian Openness Agreement is a voluntary pledge that can be signed by organisations wishing to demonstrate commitment to greater transparency in the use of animals for research or teaching.

The launch of the Agreement places Australia alongside nine other countries with similar agreements. The first of these was the UK’s Concordat on Openness on Animal Research which was launched in 2014.

Inaugural signatories include LaTrobe University, CSIRO and AstraZeneca. Signatories will provide a statement on their institutional website about their use of animals, provide a contact for enquiries, and report annually on their activities to demonstrate transparency.

HRA is appreciative of ANZCCART for their leadership role in developing the Openness Agreement, with representation from peak bodies in the university and medical research sectors, funding agencies, professional associations and animal protection organisations, including HRA.

Obtaining information about the use of animals in research and teaching is essential to the work of HRA, and to informed debate on the issue of animal experimentation at a societal level. A 2018 opinion poll commissioned by HRA revealed that 81% of respondents felt governments do not provide sufficient information on the extent of animal experimentation in Australia.

The Openness Agreement is a positive first step to increasing transparency in what is a highly secretive industry, although its practical application must be monitored to ensure its value.

HRA encourages all organisations using animals in research and teaching to become signatories to give a more complete overview of animal use in Australia. We call for proactive and balanced engagement with the community that facilitates genuine transparency, communication of information for the sake of openness, rather than strategic or agenda-driven transparency which seeks to reinforce a particular viewpoint.

Additionally, more action is required at a regulatory level, including requiring mandatory reporting of animal use in research and teaching and the publication of this data, publishing plain language summaries of all animal research conducted in Australia, and retrospective assessments of research projects to assess impact.

Read more about the Openness Agreement

Read HRA’s submission during consultation for the Openness Agreement

Read more about HRA’s campaign for increased transparency.



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