WUR signs Dutch Transparency Agreement on Animal Testing

Published on
November 2, 2021

Today Wageningen University & Research signed the Dutch Transparency Agreement on Animal Testing. The group of signatories consists of 15 organisations (universities, university medical centres, scientific institutes, companies, and associations) involved in animal testing in the Netherlands. The aim is to create a more open and transparent climate around animal research.

The transparency agreement was drafted by various Dutch researchers and communication specialists in collaboration with the European Animal Research Association (EARA) and Stichting Informatie Dierproeven (SID) and is inspired by existing transparency agreements from Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. The signatories hope that this transparency agreement will make a positive contribution towards creating more openness and informed discussion about animal testing.

Four commitments

The 15 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 make 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.

Alternatives to animal testing

Sonja de Vries, responsible for the animal testing policy within WUR for target animal research, says: 'For the transition to a future-proof circular food system, research with and for animals is and will continue to be necessary. It is our responsibility to keep animal testing to an absolute minimum. Therefore, at WUR we are continuously working on the development of all kinds of alternatives to animal testing, such as sensor technologies, mini-organs (organoids) and self-learning computer models. Wherever replacement is not possible and animal testing is necessary or even required by law, we carry out the experiments using as few animals as possible. We are also constantly working to minimise the distress caused to the animals and to make their lives as pleasant as possible.’

Cardiovascular diseases

Sander Kersten, responsible for the animal testing policy at WUR for human research: 'In recent decades, the treatment of cardiovascular diseases has improved considerably, especially through the effective use of medicines. However, every year cardiovascular diseases still cause a lot of deaths. Important risk factors for cardiovascular disease are high fat and cholesterol levels in the blood. In our research we use laboratory animals to better understand how the fat content in the blood is regulated. This creates new targets for the development of new medicines that reduce the fat content of the blood.’

The agreement is signed by: 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.