Symposium 'Lab animals in the picture'

2 years ago

What can we learn from observing animals? How do they live and how do they communicate? How can we better understand them? During the free online symposium 'Lab animals in the picture', laboratory animals are displayed as the creatures they are. During ten talks, speakers from various disciplines will shed light on animals that are sometimes laboratory animals, but are animals in the first place.

On Thursday 21 April (13.00 - 18.00) the Utrecht Animal Welfare Body will host the free online symposium 'Proefdieren in beeld'. The reason is World Laboratory Animal Day the following weekend. Speakers will talk about their experiences with (experimental) animals and reflect on the animals themselves. Topics include animal languages, animal cultures, animal welfare and housing of laboratory animals in the light of play behaviour. The symposium will be held in Dutch.

Mice, Rats, monkeys, fruit flies, cows and pigs

After an introduction by Henk Smid, chair of the Netherlands National Committee for the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, there will be a keynote lecture by Eva Meijer, who will talk about animal philosophy, among other things, and will explain videos of her adopted mice from the Utrecht lab. This is followed by speakers about rats, monkeys and fruit flies, with topics such as intrinsic value and the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement), what complex housing does to animals, and the history and future of animal use for science. The afternoon will be concluded by Leonie Cornips and Lynn de Rijk, who are researching communication between cows and pigs.

Everyone welcome

The symposium is intended for everyone with an interest in animals: scientists, biotechnicians, animal caretakers, supervisors, members of animal experiment committees, animal protectionists and other interested parties. Come online and watch, listen and join the conversation. All lectures are in Dutch.


The symposium takes place online in Microsoft Teams. Participation is free.



Opening statement – Monique Janssens, advisor communication and ethics, Animal Welfare Body Utrecht


Opening speech – Henk Smid, chair of the Netherlands National Committee for the protection of animals used for scientific purposes


What is a mouse and who determines it? About life with ten ex-laboratory mice – Eva Meijer, postdoctoral researcher in philosophy, University of Amsterdam


mini break


Intrinsic value of laboratory animals in practice – Koen Kramer, postdoctoral researcher animal ethics at Wageningen University


More challenging housing, adapted trials? About the effect of complex housing on 'standard' behaviour – Rixt van der Veen, assistant professor at Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences University of Amsterdam


Animal in animal experimentation, then, now and in the future – Anne van Veen, postdoctoral researcher environmental policy and politics, Radboud University



4:00 pm

The 3R's and rodent control – Maite van Gerwen, PhD candidate in veterinary medicine, Utrecht University


About laboratory animals, welfare and culture of care – Jan Langermans, deputy director BPRC and professor of animal welfare, Utrecht University


Animal Cultures, from monkey to fruit fly – Edwin van Leeuwen, lecturer in biology, Utrecht University


Greetings and playing: How people resemble cows and pigs – Leonie Cornips, linguistic researcher KNAW and professor by special appointment of language culture Maastricht University, and Lynn de Rijk, research master's student linguistics and communication sciences, Maastricht University


Closing statement – Monique Janssens