Question about Animal Welfare

How are the animals housed?

In the last three years a complete renewal of the monkey housing has taken place. As a result all animals in the BPRC breeding colonies are now housed in roomy, social, state of the art facilities.

What are the checks and balances on research at BPRC?

Specialised qualifications are legally required for those involved with the research. The scientist responsible for a research study carefully evaluates the proposal and refines it before submitting it to the animal ethical committee (DEC) which independently evaluates the proposal. The DEC may suggest improvements to the protocol. The DEC then decides whether an experiment is justified and the procedures appropriate before advising BPRC director as to whether they approve the study. Only with positive advice from the DEC will studies commence. The overall quality of the research programmes is ensured by supervision from a Scientific Advisory Board (comprising senior researchers from major Dutch Universities), through peer review (a process of independent assessment of the research results) and through scientific audit (an independent global review of the scientific programme).

What will happen to the monkeys after experiment?

Whenever possible animals will be used in a breeding programme. Animals may be euthanised if their welfare is compromised during an experiment. The number of animals used yearly is checked by legislation.

Where do BPRC monkeys come from?

Most animals now come from the breeding programme at BPRC. When more animals are needed than can be supplied by this programme, they are acquired from other specialised breeding centres. BPRC does not use animals that have been caught in the wild.

How many primates are housed at BPRC?

Two species, rhesus monkeys (±1100 animals) and marmosets (±200 animals), are housed at BPRC. The majority of animals are living in breeding groups and are not used in experiments. Rhesus monkeys are the major species. These animals are unique because they have been characterized for a range of genetic, viral and immunological properties. In practise this means that the animals can be selected with care for the right experiment. The results of experiments involving selected animals offer a better prediction about possible clinical applications.