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Netherlands Open Week on animal research


Netherlands

Institutions from the Netherlands Transparency Agreement on Animal Research have once again given an insight into their biomedical research using animals in their second annual open week.


Two EARA member institutions lead the way - Wageningen University & Research published an article on how research benefits animal species as well as humans, while Maastricht University had a live Zoom session + Q&A – see also the video interviews with researchers and animal facility staff.


At the Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the director of the Erasmus Animal Experimental Center, Dr Martje Fentener-van Vlissingen, gave a farewell interview on her retirement, calling for more openness with the public about animal research.


She stressed the continued need for animal studies for medical science, but also that digital models, patient tissue grown in the lab, organs on a chip and organoids would eventually replace research with laboratory animals as much as possible.


However, Dr Fentener van Vlissingen warned against too high expectations and felt the government was to blame for encouraging polarisation ‘by actively managing the expectation that the transition to animal-free innovation would make most animal testing redundant in the foreseeable future. That is political wishful thinking with little substantiation’.


At the event, at EARA member, Charles River Laboratories, entitled Labgesprekken (Lab conversations), staff and friends and family of employees were invited for a visit to the company’s facilities. More than 50-60 people went to the facility in Schaijk, including a tour of the animal housing rooms (including a live demonstration of drug administration), the dissection room and general labs. This was followed by refreshments and a discussion.


Meanwhile, SportvisserijNL shared information online, including a series of infographics, about its different studies on fish migration, the preservation of species and reintroduction of species into the wild.


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