Round Tables on the Transition to Animal-free Innovations

2 weeks ago

The Transition to Animal-Free Innovations Utrecht working group visits all groups of Utrecht University, UMC Utrecht and University of Applied Sciences Utrecht that are involved in animal testing and animal-free innovations. This is done in the form of Round Tables. Unfortunately most of them had to take place online, but the advantage is that they were very well attended as a result.

The aim of the meetings is to clarify what the working group stands for and to get a feel for how the transition is viewed in the workplace. This leads to interesting conversations, in which opinions and ideas are exchanged, bottlenecks are identified, concerns are expressed and agreements are made. The conversations are clarifying and add nuance to the sometimes somewhat polarized debate about animal experiments.

Visiting the groups will continue throughout the 2021 calendar year. Round Tables have been held at, among others, Pharmacy & Pharmacology, Nephrology & Hypertension, Translational Immunology, Molecular Biology, Behavioral Neuroscience and Translational Neuroscience. This autumn, visits to the veterinary clinics and the Joint Animal Laboratory (GDL) will follow. Groups that have not yet heard from the TPI working group can contact them via tpi@uu.nl.  There will be a second round of visits in 2022. It is not yet known how this second round will be designed. Suggestions are welcome.

We had good conversations, which resulted in understanding and good ideas. For example, we discuss together what researchers need, both those who can use animal-free methods and those who cannot yet do without an animal model. We must continue to have these conversations.”

Wim de Leeuw, member of TPI Utrecht

It's good to keep in touch, especially about a complicated subject like TPI. Scientists can be proud of what has already been achieved, even in the period before TPI. Now it is important to continue this work in a sensible way and taking into account the possibilities and impossibilities of further reducing the number of animal experiments.”

Laurens Witter, Researcher at the DDOD lab of WKZ

“It was amazing to hear staff tell about their work. We are really in the middle of the transition and beyond polarisation. Some groups using animals have done a tremendous effort to reduce and replace.

Daniela Salvatori, Chairperson of TPI Utrecht

It was always a pleasure to exchange ideas and thoughts with the employees. You can hear how they view the transition and what it could mean for their field. I always had the feeling that everyone learned from each other and that we parted in a very positive mindset.”

Monique Janssens, Communication Advisor of TPI Utrecht