Policy on use of Experimental Animals

BPRC is a scientific institute where fundamental and applied research into biomedical problems is performed with the aim that the knowledge derived from such experiments is applied to alleviation of suffering in humans. The aim of exploratory research is to generate in depth knowledge of the course of serious diseases. This knowledge is then applied to the development of new drugs and treatments. In some cases, important research questions cannot be answered other than by undertaking animal experiments.

BPRC recognises the importance of the 3 Rs (Reduction, Refinement, Replacement) and accordingly limits the number of experimental animals required for its research programme. The research is of course conducted responsibly within the framework of Dutch law on animal testing and in accordance with relevant European directives.

BPRC promotes the use of alternatives to animal experiments and considers their development to be part of its mission. BPRC is well aware of public debate on the use of animals in scientific investigation. For this reason, the BPRC has developed its own criteria for performing animal experiments in addition to the legal requirements.

  1. BPRC policy restricts the use of animals to those diseases where there is a serious threat to human health. No animals are used for research that is based simply on commercial gain or for research that does not form part of the BPRC's mission.
  2. BPRC maintains breeding colonies with the aim of providing animals to cover its own needs, rendering import from distant lands, such as China, unnecessary. This avoids the substantial stress for animals transported over long distances.
  3. BPRC policy is to house all animals, including those involved in experiments, under social conditions. The animals' environment is also physically enriched to stimulate and prevent the development of stereotyped behaviour. In addition, the BPRC has a programme whereby animals are trained using positive rewards so that the creation of stressful conditions is avoided as far as is possible.
  4. BPRC policy is to reduce the stress each animal faces to a minimum while at the same time maximising the scientific information obtained from each animal used in an experiment. In this way the fewest number of animals are used to obtain the greatest amount of information. BPRC also invests in its own strategic research in developing alternatives to the use of animals for research purposes.