Our Policy

Animals deserve to be optimally cared for throughout their lives. TNO has a formal policy regarding the use of laboratory animals and the application of the 3Rs to ensure the animals receive the best possible treatment. This policy is part of TNO's Corporate Social Responsibility policy and acts as a formal guideline for TNO management and employees. A steering committee evaluates this policy on an annual basis and reports directly to the TNO Board of Management.

Mission and Vision

TNO accepts that individual animals have intrinsic value. TNO also endorses the view that there are circumstances that justify the use of laboratory animals. At the same time, TNO realises that, by performing animal research, the researcher (Principle Investigator) and the TNO Board of Management become responsible for ethical considerations and animal welfare. Animal experiments are only acceptable if no suitable alternative is available and the goal of the study outweighs the discomfort the animals may experience. Refinement, reduction and replacement (3Rs) in animal testing are leading principles. TNO operates within the boundaries of relevant legislation and, when applicable, in compliance with Good Laboratory Practice (GLP). Furthermore, together with dedicated animal care staff, the TNO Animal Welfare Body ensures an appropriate culture of care.

Although animal experiments have made progress in science and human health and welfare possible, we realise that the current animal tests are not in all cases reliable enough to predict the effects on humans. Improvements can be realised by implementing new innovative 3R methods. This thinking is anchored in our policy, research programs and communication.


  • There is an active programme to reduce the breeding of surplus animals. To help achieve this goal, TNO will outsource the breeding of specific transgenic mice strains to a certified and specialised breeder starting in 2011.
  • For specific severe disease models, TNO conducts feasibility studies to reduce the period in which test animals experience discomfort during testing.
  • TNO has a 3R research programme focused on the following areas: testing the safety of chemicals, the efficacy of potential drugs and the kinetics of pharmaceuticals. It is our ambition not only to develop new innovative 3R methods, but also to accelerate acceptance and implementation of these methods. This is why we involve and collaborate with all relevant stakeholders, including academia, regulators, government and industry.
  • In our society, transparency and communication are essential. TNO provides information about its actions and position in the field of animal testing in order to promote a dialogue based on mutual respect. This dialogue is strengthened by the objective exchange of information - without negatively affecting the safety of researchers and lab animals or the confidentiality of research data - and maximum transparency.

TNO's internal policy on animal testing and alternatives includes instructions on related topics such as the training of personnel, education, facilities, transparency and responsibility. In November 2015 TNO, in collaboration with TNO Triskelion BV, has revised the policy on animal experiments because of the implementation of the new Animal Experiments Act. Click here to download the policy document.


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