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What is Ethics in Scientific Research?

The rapid pace of scientific and technological advance is contributing to the quality of life and to economic wealth. It has, however, evoked ethical concerns among people in Europe.

Since the European Commission is supporting joint scientific research projects in Europe through its Framework Programmes for Research and Development ethical considerations have to be addressed. The European Parliament and the European Commission began already in the mid 1980s to reflect on ethical questions emerging through science. Since the early 1990s, the European Group on Ethics (EGE) has been helping to find common European positions, while respecting national identities.

Today also the European Commission’s “Science and Society Action Plan” describes the Commission’s active commitment to improve the mutual understanding of ethical positions in Europe and promote responsible scientific research.

MUGEN – Ethical Issues

The scientific rationale underlying the use of animals in MUGEN is that a living organism provides an interactive, dynamic system that can be observed and manipulated experimentally in order to investigate mechanisms of normal function and disease. As a result, a greater understanding of living systems can be attained and this knowledge can be generalized to other species including humans, facilitating the development of effective therapies. One particular use of animals in research is in the development and use of animal models of particular human physiological functions (e.g. immune response, cardiovascular function, vision) and diseases. These are commonly used in all areas of biomedical research and have contributed significantly to medical progress.

The acceptability of using animals in research rests on the expectation that both research findings will be meaningful and substantial and suffering will be minimal. For research based on animal models, the validity of science is dependent on the validity of the animal model, that is, it is dependent upon the extent to which experimental findings in the animal model can be generalized to other species, particularly humans. The ethical “justification” for using animals in research converges with the scientific and in some respects depends on it. It is based upon the perception that increasing the knowledge base makes it possible to develop therapies that mitigate pain and suffering caused by illness and trauma and, thereby, responds to the moral imperative to do good. It assumes that research can be carried out with no or minimal discomfort or distress to the animal research subjects, and that any pain and suffering experiences is compensated for by the alleviation of human pain and suffering caused by disease and injury.

Use of genetically manipulated animal models in MUGEN MUGEN’s Code of Conduct is firmly focused on the application of the “3 Rs”: the long term Reduction, Replacement and Refinement of animal use in experimental protocols.
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Regulation of scientific procedures using animals in each participant country MUGEN participants conform to all current legislation and regulations applicable in the EU and countries where research within MUGEN is carried out.
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1. Regulation of scientific procedures using animals in each participant country
2. Use of genetically manipulated animal models in MUGEN
3. Intergrating Ethics in EU Research (FP7)
4. MUGEN Animal welfare survey results
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