"Conference plays key role in accelerating animal-free innovation"
"Unfortunately, as things stand, there aren’t many people globally who are working on alternatives to animal testing. So this conference is crucial, in that it enables people to meet and discuss how we can accelerate animal-free innovation. To my mind, the latter is top priority," says Professor Brett Lidbury from the Australian National University in Canberra.
Brett is one of the 150 delegates attending the international conference which will be held on 27, 28 and 29 November in Utrecht and he is a champion of animal-free innovation. "I really like the Netherlands, and I’m over here on a regular basis," he explains. "I do a lot of work with Merel Ritskes-Hoitinga, a colleague from SYRCLE, Radboud UMC, Nijmegen. Together, we are searching for good alternatives to animal testing in biomedical research. I’ve been working on animal-free innovation since 2011 and I will present a pitch on these alternative methods and quality assurance of research evidence during the conference. Apart from the pitch, I mainly will be coming to Utrecht to network."
Anne Gourmelon is the principal administrator for the Test Guidelines Programme of OECD in Paris. She is very excited to join the conference in the Netherlands. "I think it’s the first one offering an opportunity for innovative companies to meet policy makers in the Netherlands. We have a similar same agenda in the sense that OECD is an organisation that is addressing the needs of its member countries, including in the identification of modern and science-based solutions to current issues. The OECD Test Guidelines Programme aims at the development and harmonisation of test methods for chemical safety to meet regulatory needs in OECD member countries. And also enable the mutual acceptance of data across countries to minimise duplicative testing. The Programme is strongly engaged in the promotion of alternative methods, respectful of animal welfare. I can bring that message to the table or answer some questions other participants have about the work we do at OECD."
Setting the trend for future meetings
Cecilia Bornestaf from the Swedish Board of Agriculture is also enthusiastic about the forthcoming conference. She finds the format of the conference to be a very interesting one. Cecilia works for the Swedish 3Rs Center which is the executive body of the national committee for the protection of animals used for scientific purposes. "I think the Dutch TPI programme is brilliant; the work you are doing is crucial and it’s great that you are leading the way in this field. I’m looking forward to speaking with the various stakeholders during the conference. This dialogue is the key to success and, in my view, the format chosen could set the trend for future meetings. It’s great too that together we will decide on the next step as we prepare for the World Congress in Maastricht in August 2020."