EC launches ‘ALURES’ – a public database on animal use for scientific purposes
Since the Directive 2010/63/EU, Member States (MS) of the EU are legally obliged to submit information on the statistics of the animals they used for scientific purposes of the past year via the publication of national reports and Non-Technical Summaries (NTS). This data helps to improve transparency on animal use in the EU and helps to understand why and how animal research is performed.
Recently, during the scientific conference “Towards replacement of animals for scientific purposes” in February 2021, the European Commission (EC) indicated they want go one step further and become a world leader in transparency via the launch of a public, open access database, containing all information from the NTS of the MS, called ‘ALURES’.
The ALURES database provides detailed and reliable information on the use of animals for scientific purposes throughout the EU, including complete datasets on each use of an animal and what type of procedures were carried out. Animals used for life sciences research, regulatory testing, routine production, education, training and for the maintenance of genetically altered animal lines are all included in the scope of ‘scientific purpose’. The ALURES database is freely accessible to all stakeholders (scientists, regulators, policy makers, authorities, ethical committees, public…).
The ALURES database is divided into three sections:
- Section 1: Numbers, species and origins of animals used for the first time for research, testing, routine production, and education and training
- Section 2: All uses and reuses of animals, reasons for use, actual severity, genetic status and the use of animals to meet legislative requirements
- Section 3: Numbers, uses and reuses of animals for the creation and maintenance of genetically altered animals
From 2023, each MS will publish its national data through the ALURES database. By creating this database, the EC intends to provide a centralised platform where relevant stakeholders can find more information about the use of animals. Being open and transparent on the actual use of animals will help to understand when, how and why animals are still needed. This will help the EC to get a better understanding of the areas in which animals are still needed and in which areas the most animals are used. It will also help them to identify in which cases (more) alternative approaches need to be developed. The ALURES database will thus allow to better identify opportunities to implement the 3Rs, which directly contributes to the ultimate goal of the EC to fully replace animal testing whenever scientifically possible.