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Animal research related to spinal cord injury

There is general interest in animal research where two groups are confronted challenging its necessity, its ethical consequences, its real value related to human physiology, pathophysiology and medicine. Some believe that animal research plays a crucial part in the development of medical, veterinary and scientific breakthroughs. Others find it unethical and propose other alternatives. It is not the purpose to go into this debate here.

But we fully agree that if animals are involved, research should be responsible, ethical and judicious, following the international guidelines and treaties which are available. Laboratory animals are living creatures that deserve to be treated with respect, care and compassion. This means the necessity of safe, reliable transportation, properly trained laboratory personnel and adequate housing of the animals under constant surveillance of a specialized veterinary. Prior to beginning a study, scientists must demonstrate that they have considered alternative methods to animal research, that their research cannot be successfully done without animal models, and that their studies are designed to produce needed results and information.

In Spinal Cord we are very attentive to the quality of methodology, ethical approval, animal care described in the studies submitted to us. We are happy that many international research groups choose Spinal Cord to report their results. There is a long list of animal research studies which appeared during the last 10 years in our journal. Also this issue contains several of such studies beside papers on a variety of clinical evaluations and data. You will find them of great interest.

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Correspondence to J J Wyndaele.

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Wyndaele, J. Animal research related to spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord 54, 913 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/sc.2016.150

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