Today, 15 Dutch biomedical organisations have made a significant commitment to openness about the use of animals in research, by signing a Transparency Agreement on Animal Testing.
The signatories consist of universities, university medical centres, scientific institutes, companies, and associations and was drafted in collaboration with the European Animal Research Association (EARA) and Stichting Informatie Dierproeven (SID) and inspired by existing transparency agreements from Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom.
The signatories of the Agreement are: Amsterdam UMC, Biomedical Primate Research Centre, Charles River Laboratories Den Bosch B.V., Envigo RMS B.V., Erasmus University Medical Center, Leiden University, Maastricht University, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Radboudumc, Radboud University, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, University of Groningen, Vereniging Sportvisserij Nederland, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Wageningen University & Research.
The aim of the agreement is to create a more open and transparent climate around animal research, a subject that usually leads to heated discussions in society, the media and politics.
Dutch research institutes already share a lot of information and data about their animal research, but that information is not always easily accessible for the public. The signatories hope that this transparency agreement will make a positive contribution towards creating more openness and informed discussion about animal testing and its benefits.
The signatories are involved in carrying out, supporting or funding animal experiments for the benefit of human and animal health, quality of life and nature and the environment. By signing, the organisations have made the following four commitments:
1. We are clear about when, how and why we use animals in research.
2. We will enhance our communication with the media and the public about our involvement in animal research in the Netherlands.
3. We will be proactive in providing opportunities for the public to inform themselves about research using animals and the regulations that govern it.
4. We will report on our progress annually and share our experiences.
“This is a big step forward for the biomedical sector in the Netherlands,” said EARA executive director Kirk Leech. “It has been shown that transparency agreements in other European countries have led to a much more informed and evidence-based debate in society on the use of animals in research."
Wilbert Frieling, chair of SID added: “With the kick-off of the Transparency Agreement, we hope to see more parties join the initiative in the future, making it easier to talk about animal research in the Netherlands.”
Professor Judith Homberg, of Radboudumc, said: “Collaboration between universities and companies on high-tech methods can lead to the refinement and reduction in animal testing. This transparency agreement offers us opportunities to inform the public on these new developments.”
Monique Havermans, neuroscientist and EARA co-ordinator, said: “The debate in the Netherlands is fierce, even though all of us seem to have the same opinion on the topic - replace animal experiments wherever possible. We need context, accurate information from those performing animal experiments and acknowledgement from those whose work and achievements have been built on animal research.”
The summary of the agreement can be downloaded here.
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Note for editors:
For more information, please contact:
Prof. dr. J.R. Homberg, professor translational neurosciences, Radboudumc. E: Judith.Homberg@radboudumc.nl T: +31 6 1429 3584
Monique Havermans, European Animal Research Association E: email@example.com T: +46 73 568 1598