What can we achieve together to phase out animal experiments?
The 6-R Roundtable organised a panel discussion on the first R – Replacement - to discuss what we can achieve together. RSPCA’s Barney Reed presented the organisation’s perspective on the 10 things that need to happen to phase out lab animals. Professor Winfred Neuhaus presented the developments in Europe to connect all 3Rs centres in a European 3R-network that can support the scientists to resolve problems together. Professor Bettina Seeger brought her expertise on what is good science without the use of animals.
Although all parties are reaching a consensus regarding the need and desirability to transition to non-animal science, overarching policies that can address the challenges in their various dimensions are still missing. Nevertheless, stakeholders and governments are taking broad steps to understand the challenges that need to be addressed and opportunities that can be created to move forward towards this transition.
In RSPCA’s vision, leadership from governments, industry and scientists is crucial to define clear strategies for replacing animals with new approaches. Currently, it is still a challenge to have Replacement as the first R in some laboratories. Support from senior management and local animal ethics committees will be important to promote a culture in every laboratory that strives to replace animals.
The speakers in this panel discussion and the attendees were in strong agreement that both funding and education and training play a crucial role in the advancement of non-animal science. But to accelerate this transition, strategies need to be established by wide multi-disciplinary, multi-sectorial and international collaborations.