Summary of the 11th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences
Whilst new technologies such as organ-on-a-chip, stem cells and genomics are constantly being improved and refined, new-generation model uptake is still too low. Increased uptake is needed in order to drive a transition towards replacement of animals in the life sciences.
Our Animals in Science Programme Leader Luisa Bastos chaired a session entitled "The role of clinical research on the understanding and treatment of diseases".
Significant opportunities for #NonAnimalScience in the development of treatments for #disease, as discussed at the #WC11Maastricht session chaired by @luisaEG4A.— Eurogroup For Animals (@Act4AnimalsEU) August 25, 2021
Thanks to the speakers from @JohnsHopkinsSPH, @ULisboa_, @VUBrussel, & @Marshall_LJ from @HumaneSociety. ? pic.twitter.com/C5DGq1t877
A number of our member organisations also took part in the World Congress. The RSPCA chaired a number of sessions, including on their initiative aimed at ending 'severe' suffering of animals used in science, the role of Animal Welfare Bodies, and promoting transparency around animal research:
Are #AnimalWelfare bodies effectively driving #NonAnimalScience? @RSPCA_LabAnimal chaired a #WC11Maastricht session exploring this.@SLouhimies emphasised how the #AWB must bring the #3Rs alive + focus on #replacement. View the @EU_Commission's resource ➡https://t.co/Y4vJ4XKrXX pic.twitter.com/fFgbnoL8GY— Eurogroup For Animals (@Act4AnimalsEU) August 27, 2021
Deutscher Tierschutzbund chaired a session on the ethical issues associated with Fetal Bovine Serum, and its replacement.
Session chaired by @tierschutz_bund & @thePSCI on FBS at #WC11Maastricht today. ?— Eurogroup For Animals (@Act4AnimalsEU) August 23, 2021
Fetal bovine serum is used as an additive for cell + tissue culture media in biomedical research. ?
Switching to FBS-free medium is both an ethical and scientific necessity. #NonAnimalScience https://t.co/srlmbCUIYy pic.twitter.com/fork1pWw7D
Schweizer Tierschutz participated in a session regarding the practice of rehoming laboratory animals, sharing their own success stories from rehoming rats and other animals from Zurich University.
Our member @tierschutz_sts presented their successful laboratory animal rehoming project, giving new lives as companion animals to over 200 rats used at Zurich University @UZH_en. ???— Eurogroup For Animals (@Act4AnimalsEU) August 24, 2021
Also an excellent laboratory rodent rehoming scheme presented by @UUBeta. ?#WC11Maastricht pic.twitter.com/beMcWiRs0h
Proefdiervrij hosted a lively session that highlighted ways in which NGOs can collaborate with the scientific community in order to drive the transition to non-animal science, pushing beyond implementation of the 3Rs.
An inspiring #WC11Maastricht session chaired by our member @Proefdiervrij. ?@debby_weijers shared how collaboration between NGOs and scientists can aid the transition to #NonAnimalScience. Exciting initiatives such as awards for early career scientists were explored. ?? pic.twitter.com/GGCOppsW6y— Eurogroup For Animals (@Act4AnimalsEU) September 1, 2021
Dr. Miriam A. Zemanova from Animalfree Research chaired a session on how the 3Rs can be integrated into research on wild animal populations.
#Wildlife research can aid conservation efforts to protect species, but the #3Rs must be applied to negate #AnimalWelfare issues.?@MiriamAZemanova from Animalfree Research?? explained how non-invasive methods can minimise harms. ➡ https://t.co/NdkcGSMB5r#WC11Maastricht pic.twitter.com/6HOP3RYPVH— Eurogroup For Animals (@Act4AnimalsEU) August 27, 2021
The Congress provided an excellent opportunity for collaboration and exchange of knowledge, but we would like to see the event and its participants take further steps towards accelerating the uptake of non animal methods. We released a statement addressed to attendees, co-signed by a number of our member organisations and other bodies, calling for:
- Decision-makers to implement policy and regulation changes to accelerate the uptake of non-animal methods as replacements for animals in education, research and testing.
- Conference attendees to promote institution-level strategies for the phase-out of the use of animals.
- World Congress organisers to focus on accelerating the implementation of non-animal approaches at future World Congresses.