History of NCad

In the Netherlands, government, the scientific community, the business community and civil society organizations have been working hand in hand for years on the responsible use of animals in teaching and research (including scientific research). The Animal Testing Act (WOD) entered into force in the Netherlands in 1977. This Act protects the welfare of laboratory animals, establishes frameworks that procedures must meet, and imposes requirements on the expertise of those who work with laboratory animals. Much has already been achieved in the Netherlands. But there’s always room for improvement.

The WOD was revised on 18 December 2014. In this way, the European Directive relating to animal procedures in research (2010/63/EU) was implemented within our national legislation. The European Directive eliminates any differences between Member States’ legislation in terms of animal procedures, laboratory animals and the Replacement, Reduction and Refinement (3Rs) of such animals. In the Netherlands, the WOD has not been replaced in its entirety. This is because it includes a number of national legal provisions that pre-date the 2014 revision, that go further than the Directive, and which remain in force. For example, sacrificing animals to make use of their organs is covered by the definition of an animal procedure. Here you can read more about the national provisions that are applicable within the Netherlands.

One of the requirements of the European Directive is that each Member State must appoint a National Committee for the protection of animals used for scientific purposes. The Committee’s duties include advising competent authorities and Animal Welfare Bodies (IvD) on the acquisition, breeding, housing, care and use of animals in procedures and seeing to it that best practices are disseminated. The Directive also states that the National Committees of the Member States must exchange information on the operation of the IvDs, plus details of the project evaluations. In addition, best practices are disseminated throughout the EU by the National Committees.

In this country, the Netherlands National Committee for the protection of animals used for scientific purposes (NCad) has been engaged in improving the welfare of laboratory animals since 18 December 2014. The NCad’s goal is to achieve noticeable improvements that are specifically related to the Replacement, Reduction and Refinement (3Rs) of animal procedures and to the associated ethical review in scientific research (including applied scientific research) and teaching. The NCad aims to minimize laboratory animal use, both at national and international level.

Prior to 18 December 2014, some of the NCad’s duties (including its legal duties) were performed by the National Knowledge Centre for Alternatives to Animal Use (NKCA). The decision was taken to combine forces and to transfer a number of tasks to the NCad. Some the NKCA’s other duties have devolved to its former partners, the RIVM and Utrecht University. The NKCA was dissolved on 18 December 2014.