Improving Openness in Animal Research in the Netherlands

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University Maastricht, faculty of Heath, Medicine, and Life Sciences, Universiteitssingel 50, Room: UNS 50, 0.402 (Blauwe zaal), 6229 ER Maastricht

Universiteitssingel 50

6229 Maastricht


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Discussing openness in animal research in the Netherlands at Maastricht University

About this Event

The European Animal Research Association (EARA) and Maastricht University, supported by the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), invite you to discuss improving openness in communications about animal research with the general public, political decision makers, and opinion formers in the Netherlands.

Attendance at this workshop is free, but registration is essential.

The workshop will be held in English.

You will receive a certificate of attendance emailed to you after attending the event.


13.00 Registration

13.30-16.30 Speakers and Panel Discussion

16.30-17.30 Drinks Reception

This workshop is offered to those working in the life sciences sector and is designed to support researchers and institutions that wish to be more open about the animal research they carry out. The focal theme of the workshop is to discuss why scientists, researchers, press officers and other stakeholders can and should talk about animal research; it is not a debate about the ethics of animal experimentation.

Despite the political presence of animal research in the Netherlands, with the Dutch government expressing its aim that the country be 'a forerunner in the international transition with animal free innovation' by 2025, the 2019 'Staat van het Dier' report suggested that a large portion of the public are uninformed about animal research, where 30-60% of respondents 'neither agree nor disagree' with statements posed about animal research. This workshop aims to show how openness towards the public can facilitate the public debate on animal research, which has been increasing in many European countries and research institutions.

Even with progress in openness towards the public, there is still significant reluctance within many academic institutions, and amongst scientists, towards conducting a more open and consistent dialogue with the public. Many scientists are still afraid that speaking more openly about their research and their motivations will make them targets, while others lack the confidence to put the case for animal research to what they view as a sceptical public and a potentially hostile media.

At the institutional level this is also evident as highlighted in the 2018 EARA study of European websites which showed that out of 1300 institutions that conduct or support biomedical research using animals, under half carry a recognisable statement on their websites explaining the use of animals in research/animal welfare, and fewer than 40% carried any imagery related to animal research.

The discussion is relevant for members of institutions that are involved in animal research - directly or indirectly - and are currently hesitant to speak out in the media or to participate in public engagement activities.

We hope that this workshop, and those hosted by EARA in other countries, will help to kick-start a cultural change and support research institutions to handle this issue constructively.


Dr. Andreas Teubner, Head of Central Animal Facility, Maastricht University

Andreas Teubner has a background in cell biology and lab animal science. He is currently Head of the Central Animal Facility at Maastricht University. Previously, Andreas was involved in large scale mouse phenotyping projects at the Helmholtz Center Munich and Ingenium Pharmaceuticals, both in Munich, before he held an appointment as Animal Welfare Office and deputy Head of the Transgenic Service at the Medical Faculty at RWTH University of Aachen.


Kirk Leech, Executive Director, European Animal Research Association

Kirk is Executive Director of EARA, a communications and advocacy organisation whose mission is to uphold the interests of biomedical, and other life sciences, research and healthcare development across Europe. Previously Kirk worked for the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry and Understanding Animal Research, the UK’s leading advocacy group on the use of animals in medical research.

Prof. Leon de Windt, Maastricht University

Leon de Windt is professor of Molecular Cardiovascular Biology at Maastricht University, Principal Investigator at CARIM School for Cardiovascular Diseases where he runs a research program on Gene Regulatory Mechanisms in Heart Failure. On a national level, he is a coordinator of the Dutch CVON-ARENA consortium, the largest Dutch Heart Foundation funded research consortium on heart failure.

Sicco de Knecht, Editor in Chief at ScienceGuide

Sicco de Knecht is editor in chief of the Dutch higher education and research news site ScienceGuide. As a journalist he has a keen interest in the developments within the field of animal testing and has written numerous articles on alternatives for animal testing and the political developments on the subject. He studied Psychobiology and Neuroscience at the University of Amsterdam.

Dr. Andreas Lengeling, Animal Research & Welfare Officer, Max-Planck-Society

Andreas is the animal research and animal welfare officer of the Max-Planck-Society. He is responsible for the implementation of the society’s white paper on animal research. His role involves the support of 32 Max-Planck Institutes in all aspects of animal experimentation and animal welfare. Previously, Andreas has held faculty and group leader positions at the University of Edinburgh (UK) and the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig, Germany. He has studied Biology and has obtained a PhD in Genetics at the University of Bielefeld.

Prof. Frits Prinzen, Professor of Physiology, Maastricht University

Frits Prinzen is professor of Physiology with expertise in electro-mechanics of the heart. His research focuses on the relation between the electrical activation and mechanical contraction and pump function of the heart, with specific application to pacemaker therapies in heart failure. There are multiple examples where the results from his animal experiments proved to translate to patients. His research was affected by “Labradorgate” in 2014, where he was confronted with public protests and media attention.

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University Maastricht, faculty of Heath, Medicine, and Life Sciences, Universiteitssingel 50, Room: UNS 50, 0.402 (Blauwe zaal), 6229 ER Maastricht

Universiteitssingel 50

6229 Maastricht


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