Legislation and ethics
Primates can only be used in biomedical research if no alternative methods are available. BPRC's animal tests comply with the provisions of the Dutch Experiments on Animals Act and the very highest ethical standards. In other words, we do things by the book.
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Dutch Experiments on Animals Act
Dutch Experiments on Animals Act
In the Netherlands, animal testing and the associated legislation primarily come under the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality's jurisdiction. The amended Experiments on Animals Act (Dutch) entered into force on 18 December 2014. This new act implemented EU Directive (Dutch) 2010/63/EU into Dutch legislation. As a result, two new organisations were established: the Central Authority for Scientific Procedures on Animals (CCD) and the Netherlands National Committee for the protection of animals used for scientific purposes (NCad).
The CCD is competent to authorise projects involving animal testing, and consults the Animal Experiments Committee (DEC) before doing so. The NCad was established to provide recommendations on the 3Rs: reduction, refinement and replacement. For more information on the Dutch Experiments on Animals Act, see theAnimal Testing Information Foundation (SID)'s website.
Animal Experiments Committee
Animal Experiments Committee (DEC)
It goes without saying that the DEC's members must not be affiliated with the research institute being reviewed in any way. Only in this way will the Committee be able to assess a study fairly, on the basis of the following three criteria:
- 1. the scientific value of the study;
- 2. the study's importance to mankind;
- 3. the ethical justification for the use of laboratory animals.
What this means in actual practice is that the Committee weighs mankind's interests against the animal's interests. If a study's importance does not outweigh the discomfort the study will cause to laboratory animals, the Committee will reject the study, even if its scientific quality is considerable.
BPRC's Animal Experiments Committee has been formally recognised by the Central Authority for Scientific Procedures on Animals and is made up of seven members: two BPRC-affiliated members and five independent members (including the Chair) who are not employed by BPRC. The Dutch Experiments on Animals Act clearly stipulates the requirements (Dutch) the members must meet in order to be allowed to serve on this important committee.
Animal Welfare Organisation
Animal Welfare Organisation (IvD)
Pursuant to the Dutch Experiments on Animals Act, every organisation performing animal tests must establish an Animal Welfare Organisation (IvD). The mission of BPRC's IvD is to ensure that BPRC's laboratory animals lead the best possible lives, based on the principles of the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement), and in accordance with current legislation.
IvD will check the detailed information provided by the persons seeking to conduct the study. IvD will assess proposed protocol amendments after the protocol has been authorised, as information may be released during the course of a study which may
- 1. result in better scientific results, and/or
- 2. improve the lives of the animals used in the study.
Alternatively, unexpected problems may occur which may cause the researcher's plans to be changed.
BPRC is an AAALAC-accredited scientific research institute. This means that we do not just meet the bare minimum legally required standards, but voluntarily go above and beyond to create the best possible living conditions for our animals.
AAALAC (Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care) International is a not-for-profit organisation that seeks to bridge the gap between scientific progress and animal welfare. AAALAC deems that animal testing in scientific research is only acceptable if no alternative methods are available and on the condition that the study is conducted in an ethical and humane manner. AAALAC seeks to get scientific research institutes to agree of their own accord to undergo assessment regarding the way in which they deal with the animals they use in their research projects. In other words, AAALAC assessments are not mandatory, but all the same there are now AAALAC-accredited research institutes in over 36 countries.
BPRC's researchers only use animals who were bred for experimentation purposes – preferably animals from BPRC's own colony. In certain exceptional cases we may use primates obtained from other recognised breeding centres. The importation and exportation of primates and primate cells and tissues are subject to strict regulations and to the CITES treaty regarding the protection of foreign animal species, to which the Netherlands is a signatory.
We seek to establish a safe and healthy work environment that will have minimal impact on the environment, within the constraints of healthy business operations. We will meet the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety regulations and environmental regulations, and fulfil any other obligations that apply to us or which we impose on ourselves.
We seek to develop Occupational Health and Safety and Environmental Protection Policies that are in line with our overall organisational policy. BPRC's Occupational Health and Safety and Environmental Protection Policies will be weighed against (on equal footing) and aligned with the foundation's other policies (e.g. financial policy, scientific policy and personnel policy).
In our annual Occupational Health and Safety and Environmental Protection Plans, we list measurable targets for the year in question and translate these into an Action Plan. The Action Plan is adopted by the Board of Directors, then submitted for approval to the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC).
Our Occupational Health and Safety and Environmental Protection Policies are formulated, implemented, monitored and revised in accordance with commonly used methods. We seek to ensure continuous improvement of the health-and-safety and environmental aspects of our activities.
Key health-and-safety and environmental aspects of our activities include the following:
- Microbiological safety; preventing employees from being infected
- Protecting the environment from the release of biological agents (including GMOs)
- Restricting the use of hazardous substances
- Efficient energy and water consumption.
We consider the following aspects integral components of its operations:
- Continually raising awareness of safety and environmental concerns and providing information on these concerns to all employees and guests
- Appointing employees tasked with carrying out the duties arising from our Occupational Health and Safety and Environmental Protection Policies
- Informing employees and others of the quality
- Creating the right facilities and ensuring that installations and equipment are used properly
- Identifying, recording and properly addressing complaints regarding health-and-safety and environmental protection issues
- Having annual internal audits performed
We realise that we will have to get all our employees involved if we are to have effective Occupational Health and Safety and Environmental Protection Policies. All employees will be given the opportunity to have their say on issues and solutions. In addition, all employees will be granted the opportunity to carry out those activities and duties that will help us attain the targets outlined in our Occupational Health and Safety and Environmental Protection Policies.
Managers are responsible for their own units' compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety and Environmental Protection Policies adopted by the Board of Directors. The preparation and implementation of the policies will be discussed at both the Joint Consultative Committee's meetings and the regular team meetings held at each department or section.
BPRC's employees share responsibility for the implementation of the Occupational Health and Safety and Environmental Protection Environmental policy. We expect our employees to follow the procedures and instructions drawn up as part of the Occupational Health and Safety and Environmental Protection Policies. We also expect them to help us solve commonly encountered issues.