Pascalle van Loo becomes new head of the Animal Welfare Body

As of 1 January 2024, Pascalle van Loo is the new head of the Animal Welfare Body of Utrecht University and University Medical Center Utrecht. She will succeed Wim de Leeuw, who will take on a new role as Programme Leader of Sustainability at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

Pascalle van Loo has been working at the Animal Welfare Body (Dutch name: Instantie voor Dierenwelzijn, IvD) as an animal welfare officer and quality assurance officer. In this role, she already co-designed the overarching policy on animal experiments and she was one of the initiators of the rehoming policy, in which former laboratory animals can be adopted by private individuals. Since 2022, she is also the President of DALAS, the national association for everyone who is professionally involved in laboratory animal science.

Pascalle van Loo met haar hond

“The Animal Welfare Body Utrecht really has a leading role in the Netherlands,” Van Loo says. “We are very transparent and the license holders give us much space to really take steps forward. In the past years, much has been achieved under Wim de Leeuw's leadership. It feels great to do work that is so dear to me in such an environment and with these possibilities. In this new role, I want to be connecting and avoid the sometimes looming polarisation of whether or not to test on animals.”

Executive Board President Anton Pijpers is looking forward to the collaboration: “With her passion for animal welfare and her drive to contribute to the transition to animal-free innovation, Pascalle is the right person to lead the Animal Welfare Body team and contribute to the mission of Utrecht University and University Medical Center Utrecht.”

Pascalle van Loo's career

Pascalle van Loo studied Biology at Utrecht University and Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare at the University of Edinburgh. She obtained her PhD at the Department of Laboratory Animal Science of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and then worked in various roles at Utrecht University and the Sophia Vereeniging for the protection of animals in Amsterdam. She worked at the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) from 2007 to 2017, where she founded the Animal Welfare Body in 2014. She was the head there until 2017. After that, she made the move to Utrecht University, where she has been working as an animal welfare officer and quality assurance officer since 2017. On 1 January 2024, she will start as the new head of the Animal Welfare Body of Utrecht University and University Medical Center Utrecht.

There are various organisations in Utrecht which work on laboratory animal welfare, the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) and the transition to animal free innovation:

Animal Welfare Body Utrecht (AWB)

The AWB was founded by UMC Utrecht and Utrecht University in order to structurally ensure an optimal well-being for laboratory animals. The AWB advises on and inspects animal experiments, so everything will be done in accordance with the law and regulations. On top of that, the AWB encourages the 3Rs. More information on the AWB.

3Rs Centre Utrecht 

In order to optimally stimulate all 3Rs developments at Utrecht University and UMC Utrecht, the 3Rs Centre was founded. The goal is to reduce the use of laboratory animals in research and education. For this purpose, the Centre provides information on new developments and tools for education and research. The 3Rs Centre and the AWB have collaborated intensively for years. Since 2022, the 3Rs Centre is a structural part of the AWB. More information on the 3Rs Centre Utrecht.

TPI Utrecht

Transition Project towards Animal-free Innovations Utrecht (in Dutch: Transitie Proefdiervrije Innovatie Utrecht, TPI Utrecht) is an interdisciplinary expert group working on the transition to animal-free innovation. They have a help desk people can contact if they have questions, and organise events such as helpathons: workshops in which animal-free testing methods are created in order to answer research questions. TPI Utrecht works closely with the AWB and the 3Rs Centre. More information on TPI Utrecht.