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Experimental 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 committee Animal experiments & Alternatives evaluates this policy on an annual basis and reports directly to the TNO Board of Management.
TNO accepts that individual animals have an 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 quality criteria of the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC). A dedicated, independent Animal Ethics Committee evaluates all projects involving animals. 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, there is a need for methods with a better substantiated predictivity for the human/patient situation. Improvement of current methodologies can be realised by implementing innovative 3R methods. This thinking is anchored in our policy, research programs and communication.
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 January 2018 TNO has revised the policy on animal experiments in order to run in parallel with the TNO strategy period (2018-2021).