Refining EAE


This report is based on discussions and submissions from an expert working group consisting of veterinarians, animal care staff and scientists with expert knowledge relevant to the field. It aims to facilitate the implementation of the Three Rs (replacement, reduction and refinement) in the use of animal models or procedures involving experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an experimental model used in multiple sclerosis research. The emphasis is on refinement since this has the greatest potential for immediate implementation. Specific welfare issues are identified and discussed, and practical measures are proposed to reduce animal use and suffering. Some general issues for refinement are summarised to help achieve this, with more detail provided on a range of specific measures to reduce suffering.
EAE is considered to be a “substantial/severe” procedure by the UK Government Home Office, i.e. the worst category  So the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) instigated this report with a view of reducing suffering of animals but will lead us into not doing EAE. The problem is that by increasing the hurdles to do animal work in the UK, it just moves it East or Westward where people may not be so concerned about our furry friends, as we are in the UK. Therefore, driving the fish into the mouths of the shark Furthermore, if you want treatments for progressive disease you need to be at the more severe spectrum. 

I think much animal research is a dying breed in UK……the universities are pricing it out of existence. You do not need to cut animal work down by legislation you can do it by economics, the only places that can afford to do it are funded by the Government.
I’m all for refining EAE, but this in my opinion is not the way to do it. It they had paid for MS researchers to get together there would have been a constructive discussion and it would be easier to get some consensus. A stick is not the answer……some of the suggestions were impractical.

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  • In the words of my mate Gandhi:

    "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated.

    I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.

    I feel that spiritual progress does demand at some stage that we should cease to kill our fellow creatures for the satisfaction of our bodily wants.

    I do not regard flesh-food as necessary for us at any stage and under any clime in which it is possible for human beings ordinarily to live. I hold flesh-food to be unsuited to our species."

    Stop killing in the name of pointless endeavours. There is no cure for MS. The medicines given are merely toxic cash convertors.

    • Whilst I should be sticking swedish flags into my new troll voodoo doll your comment relates to vegetarianism and meat eating and not the use of animals in research. So this twisting information.

      Whilst you have a write to your opinion about animals in research, we have been there before last year and most people do not share your opinion. Maybe time for a new poll to see if your views have changed

      PS Of course there is a cure for MS, we just need to find it

    • Re: "Of course there is a cure for MS, we just need to find it."

      That's the spirit, MouseDoc. Let's get to work on it and shut these naysayers up for good. They will be laughing at the other side of their faces.

    • And I wonder if our trolls would think differently if they had MS …. oh wait, you never know for whom the bell tolls next… .

  • My problem with EAE, other than its severity (although not always the case, to be noted) is that is nothing like MS..

    • Well if you saw our mouse model you would realise that it has a remarkable number of similarities to MS (others are not so good).

  • As two of the authors (P. Hawkins and E. Lilley), we were disappointed to see David Baker’s post on the above report since this completely misinterpreted its intentions. The report did NOT aim to ‘increase regulatory hurdles’ to do animal work – nor was it about ‘developing ways not to do EAE’. We personally know people who have been deeply affected by debilitating medical conditions, including MS, and we recognise why animals are currently used in such research. The goal of the report was, as the title indicates, to help scientists and animal care staff to minimise the suffering of those animals. Since it is also widely accepted that reducing suffering and better animal welfare leads to better scientific results, there are benefits for patients too.

    The RSPCA’s approach is informed, constructive and highly practical, designed to deliver positive outcomes for animals and people. It is therefore a great shame that David did not tell us which of the recommendations in the report he believed to be ‘impractical’ when we asked him to comment on it before publication.

    • I think Prof B's thoughts on this are valid. For the animal models to be realistic, particularly for progressive MS there is no way round the fact that it will be a substantial/severe procedure in the UK.
      This will and indeed has, driven much of this work offshore to places such as the far east where the regulations are not as stringent.
      The high cost incurred in doing these studies (maintenance charges etc) plus universities insistence on full cost recovery already means that EAE in the UK is a rapidly declining area of study, which to me is a sad state of affairs.
      So the RSPCA is getting its desired result but for the wrong reasons.

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