Law books and gavel

The 3Rs are important starting points for shaping laboratory animal research. It is therefore important to have clearly defined what exactly is meant by this. The legal definition of an animal experiment is as follows:

An animal experiment is any use of an animal for experimental, educational or other purposes of which the result is known or unknown, causes discomfort to the animal, comparable to the insertion of a needle in accordance with good veterinary practice.

Animal experiments are bound by rules. In the Netherlands, the Animal Experiments Act (Wet op dierproeven) applies, which was revised on 18 December 2014. The starting point of the law is that animal testing is prohibited unless there are good reasons, and that there are no possibilities without laboratory animals to achieve the required results.

The law describes, among others:

  • the institutions that are allowed to keep and breed laboratory animals
  • who may carry out animal experiments, for what purposes and under what conditions
  • the bodies that play a role in supervision and their specific role
  • the licensing procedure
  • the requirements for education and training of employees involved in the animal experiment.