Revised website strengthens transparency regarding Ghent University policy on the use of animal testing in research

(19-06-2021) In 2019, Ghent University signed a transparency agreement on animal testing, which is receiving more and more attention. In Flanders, Ghent University is setting a good example, which is reinforced with completely revised web pages.

View the renewed web pages about the use of laboratory animals in research and education at Ghent University.

Transparency and the 3 R's at the forefront of Ghent University policy

Although Ghent University, like many people and organizations inside and outside the university, hopes that animal experiments can be phased out as much as possible in the long run, these are still indispensable to be able to roll out some studies and produce relevant scientific output. Various faculties still use animal testing within certain research domains, albeit only when absolutely necessary.

As long as it proves impossible to completely eliminate animal testing as a research method, Ghent University will continue to pay attention to the welfare of its laboratory animals. In addition, Ghent University formed a clear vision in which transparency is paramount, and therefore already signed a transparency agreement in 2019, which is now becoming more and more accepted in Europe. Ghent University is also actively committed to maximizing animal welfare through awareness-raising, prevention and enforcement of laboratory animal legislation. The fact that Ghent University takes this transparency to heart is also apparent from the figures page, which is very open and the most up-to-date page of its kind in Belgium.

“The social dialogue about animal testing is all too often polarized, and correct figures, with explanations, are still too often lacking. In the near future, we want to be even more transparent: not just numbers, but also stories behind animal testing.” (Dr. Tom Geerinckx, Policy Officer Research and Ethics – Research Department)

For Ghent University, the 3 Rs are paramount in animal testing policy: Reduction, Replacement, and Refinement. Researchers always check whether alternative methods can be used instead of animal experiments to achieve the same qualitative research output.

Animal experiments never exist as research in themselves, but are always part of research that also includes other techniques (in vitro, computer analyses, etc.), very often for the benefit of human medicine, but also in the context of veterinary medicine, etc. That essential dimension of animal testing is not easy. Ghent University therefore fully supports transparent communication, such as EARA on Twitter about the role of animal research in important scientific breakthroughs. Moreover, Ghent University recognizes the importance of transparency in the social debate about animal testing.

“Openness about animal testing is an important step towards achieving mutual trust in the public debate.” (Professor Katleen Hermans, chair of the Ethical Committee on Animal Experiments, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine)

Every involved Ghent University employee has a voice

Every involved Ghent University employee has a voice, and must be able to make it heard if he/she would like to report abuse or whatever. ItLaboposter dierproeven is equally important that anyone who uses laboratory animals to arrive at research results dares to communicate about this openly and transparently. The correct use of animal testing is a scientific necessity that should not be concealed, but rather should be communicated transparently.

In the coming year, the Animal Testing Policy working group at Ghent University wants to gauge knowledge and support/criticism with regard to the use of laboratory animals. In this way she wants to offer her own UGent community the opportunity to give her opinion and any feedback in a transparent and open way. In other words, to be continued!