Summary of the 11th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences


Summary of the 11th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences

6 September 2021
With a focus on the “3Rs in transition: from development to application”, the Congress hosted a number of sessions covering a diverse range of topics. Many sessions explored the development of innovative non animal models for application in the development of treatments for human disease as well as areas such as chemical safety testing and drug testing.

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".

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:

Deutscher Tierschutzbund chaired a session on the ethical issues associated with Fetal Bovine Serum, and its replacement.

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. 

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.

Dr. Miriam A. Zemanova from Animalfree Research chaired a session on how the 3Rs can be integrated into research on wild animal populations.

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.

Read the statement in full here.