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Appointed laboratory animal ambassador

Head of Animal Facility at the University of Bergen, Aurora Brønstad, has been appointed ambassador for systematic reviews of animal studies.

Aurora Brønstad from the Laboratory Animal Facility  at the University of Bergen works for the animals that attend medical experiments to make sure they get the best possible and ethical care.
ANIMAL ADVOCATE: Aurora Brønstad from the Laboratory Animal Facility at the University of Bergen works for the animals that attend medical experiments to make sure they get the best possible and ethical care.
Photo:
Eivind Senneset

“Most medical merits are based on animal studies, and there is a general understanding of why animals are useful in research. Animal testing can help to improve the lives of children and adults, and to avoid death and disease,” says Aurora Brønstad.

She is head of The Laboratory Animal Facility at the University of Bergen (UiB), and was recently appointed as an ambassador for SYRCLE (Systematic Review Centre for Laboratory animal experimentation).

Advocate for research animal welfare

She has responsibility for the welfare of nearly 3,000 mice and 500 rats, and currently six mini-pigs and three or four ordinary pigs. These are located in 19 locked rooms in the main block at Haukeland University Hospital and are being used in research studies at UiB. The animals are used for research on the nervous system, cancer, diabetes, and treating cardiovascular disease.

The Laboratory Animal Facility is responsible for ensuring the wellbeing of the test animals.

“You can call us the animals' advocates. It is important for us to have a high standard of caring for the animals at the department,” says Brønstad.

She has worked with animal care since 1999 and participated in many forums about animal welfare.

As SYRCLE ambassador Brønstad has the opportunity to step up this dialogue to ensure the best possible conditions for the test animals.

“As ambassador I will be able to work even harder just for the animals' welfare,” says Brønstad, who is a trained veterinarian.

Avoiding unnecessary experiments

SYRCLE works to ensure that animal testing is based on a systematic and fact-based review of current knowledge in the field of animal welfare.

“The method used is a structured, thorough and transparent way to view existing guidelines and the literature available on this. The availability of such online resources may be of vital importance in preventing unnecessary testing,” explains Brønstad before adding:

“The search should also include relevant keywords for both the animal model, the disease that is studied and the interventions used in the study and one should search more than one database in order not to miss the information.”

As SYRCLE ambassador Brønstad will pursue training in this method.

“I will train new researchers in using this procedure when planning animal testing. In this way we contribute to a better effort and avoid unnecessary testing,” she says.