Who does what, nationally and internationally?

With the entry into force of the revised Animal Testing Act (WOD), a number of new organizations were created, such as NCad, the Central Authority for Scientific Procedures on Animals (CCD), and the Animal Welfare Body (IvD). Organizations such as the Animal Ethics Committees (DECs) that pre-dated the revised WOD are switching to different roles. This page contains a list (which should not be regarded as exhaustive) of who does what. This list will be supplemented with further details in the near future.

In the Netherlands, government, the scientific community, the business community and civil society organizations are working hand in hand on a responsible animal procedure policy. This includes the Replacement, Reduction and Refinement (3Rs) option with regard to animal procedures.

Central Authority for Scientific Procedures on Animals

The CCD is the central body, it alone is authorized to grant project licences to conduct animal procedures. The CCD is a quasi-autonomous non-governmental organization (QUANGO), appointed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Legislation stipulates that the CCD is independent and impartial. For further details, please visit the CCD’s website.

Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA)

In addition to a project licence, an establishment licence is required to keep, breed or supply animals for the purpose of animal procedures. These establishment licences are granted by the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) to organizations such as universities, pharmaceutical companies, and medical centres. These organizations must then comply with the provisions of the revised Animal Testing Act (WOD). The NVWA sees to it that licenced establishments abide by the laws and regulations pertaining to animal procedures. The NVWA also publishes an annual review of the number of animal procedures carried out, why they were conducted, and on which species these animal procedures were performed. Here you will find the Zo doende (in Dutch) , the NVWA’s annual review of animal procedures and laboratory animals.

Animal Ethics Committee

An Animal Ethics Committee (DEC) advises the CCD regarding applications or extensions for project licences for animal procedures. It is the CCD that grants accreditation to DECs in the Netherlands, and that revokes such accreditation where necessary. The Netherlands Association of Animal Ethics Committees (NVDEC) is an association of all the DECs in the Netherlands.

In their advisory reports to the CCD, DECs use criteria that are set out in legislation. There are currently about 25 DECs in the Netherlands. These are affiliated to the Netherlands Association of Animal Ethics Committees (NVDEC). A DEC consists of at least seven members, with expertise in the areas of:

  •  The various scientific disciplines and scientific applications for which the animals are to be used. This includes Replacement, Reduction and Refinement (3Rs) in these fields;
  •  Experimental design, including the statistical aspects;
  • The practice of laboratory animal medicine or, where necessary, veterinary practice with wild animals;
  • Keeping, caring for, and treating animals of those species that are to be used;
  • Ethics;
  • Laboratory animals and their protection.

At least two members are not professionally involved in animal procedures. Nor, in addition to the Chairman, should at least half of the members have any employment relationship with the establishment licencee of the project for which an advisory report is issued.

Like the CCD, the DEC examines various points of the project plan:

  • The expertise of the individual who determines the design and implementation of the procedure.
  • By whom, or by which committee, the procedure’s scientific quality is assessed.
  • The reasoning used to answer the question of why the procedure could not be performed with fewer laboratory animals, or by using a technique that did not involve the use of laboratory animals at all (3Rs).
  • The reasons given for selecting the species and number of laboratory animals to be used.
  • The origin of the laboratory animals to be used.
  • The intended treatment and care (including housing) before, during and after the procedure, as well as the expertise of the responsible individuals.
  • The nature, frequency and duration of the procedures to which the animal is to be subjected.
  • The degree of distress/discomfort that the laboratory animals will (or may) experience.
  • The use (or potential use) of anaesthesia or analgesics and other methods to avoid distress/discomfort.
  • Whether a given animal was previously used for a procedure.
  • Whether, and – if so – at what time, it was decided to proceed with the responsible sacrifice of the laboratory animals involved and the method used on that occasion.
  • The final destination of the animal after the procedure.

Animal Welfare Bodies

Every breeder, supplier and user of laboratory animals is obliged to set up an Animal Welfare Body (IvD). The IvD advises the breeder’s, supplier’s and user’s staff, and ensures the welfare of animals. It also supervises the application for a project licence and the implementation of the project after licensing. Every organization that conducts animal procedures has one or more individuals who are responsible for the welfare and care of the animals. These animal welfare officers, along with other experts, are part of the IvD. This guarantees the effective monitoring of laboratory animal welfare, as it is not dependent on the expertise and position of any single officer within an organization

The IvD’s duties are:

  • Advising staff who deal with animals on animal welfare issues (acquisition, housing, care and use of animals).
  • Advising staff on the 3Rs and on related technical and scientific developments.
  • Establishing and reviewing internal procedures (monitoring, reporting and follow-up with regard to the welfare of the animals being housed).
  • Monitor the development and outcome of projects (impacts on animals used, identifying elements that could contribute to the 3Rs).
  • Advising on possible adoption schemes.

More information about IvD can be found on the website of Dalas.

Netherlands Association for Laboratory Animal Science

The Netherlands Association for Laboratory Animal Science seeks to achieve the most responsible possible use of laboratory animals. This primarily involves the Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of animal procedures.