Ethical consideration

The basic principle underlying all animal research at Utrecht University and UMC Utrecht is the recognition that all animals have an intrinsic value. This means that animals have value for themselves, regardless of their utility for humans.

Everyone that is involved in animal experiments must therefore respect the animals’ interests. In concrete terms, this results in extra attention to the animals’ welfare.

Necessity of ethical considerations

The use of animals requires justification. Researchers and other involved parties must weigh the interests of society (for example, the development of a medicine to treat a disease) compared to the interests of the animal (for example, to not be used for a painful experiment). They must base their considerations on proper argumentation, indicating as to which consequences for the animal are acceptable, and which are not.

Conditions for the use of animals in experiments

Animals may only be used in experiments if the following conditions have been met:

  • There is no other alternative that would allow the research or educational goal to be achieved.
  • There is significant public interest.
  • The scientific quality of the research is sufficient.
  • A specialised committee, the Animal Experiments Committee, has assessed that the importance of the animal experiment justifies the use of test animals and their discomfort.
  • The 3R’s, Replacement, Reduction and Refinement, have been included in the design of the experiments and applied wherever possible.
  • A licence has been granted by the Central Authority for Scientific Experiments on Animals (CCD)