ILVO generates knowledge to promote more sustainable animal husbandry, fisheries and aquaculture. To do this, it is inevitable to that animals are kept and used for research (where the animals are kept in group housing or in their original ecosystem to the degree possible).
ILVO is committed to an ethical approach when setting up and carrying out experiments involving farm animals and marine organisms. This is not only our legal but also our moral duty.
We strive to keep the number of animals as low as possible (while still allowing for a meaningful answer to the research question in question), to refine our methodology and to focus on the development of feasible and quality alternatives. The degree of the experimental procedures is often light to moderate; only in extremely rare circumstances does the animal experience a serious outcome.
Each experimental design is meticulously assessed in advance by a competent ethics committee that examines the justification of species used and number of animals, the methodology (including the way in which animal welfare is monitored and guaranteed) as well as supervises the required training of the experimental staff.
All animals are cared for by animal caretakers who are carefully trained for the tasks they perform. The welfare of the animals is monitored on a daily basis. If any problems are identified, the supervising researcher is informed, as soon as is appropriate, also the ILVO veterinarian.
In order to increase the transparency of the animal experiments carried out, ILVO, together with the "European Animal Research Association" (EARA) and 23 other Belgian public and private research institutions, drew up and signed the "Statement in support of animal research in Belgium and a transparent approach" in April 2016.
In order to make effective progress in the field of transparency, concrete actions have been proposed, which translate into the Transparency Agreement signed by ILVO in December 2019.
ILVO is in favor of an open dialogue between the research community and the general public about the when, why and how of the use of animals in research, and about the added value of such animal testing. The signing of both the Declaration (in 2016) and the Transparency Agreement (in 2019) was a next step for ILVO in making known its use of animals and the way in which this is handled.
The Transparency Agreement contains four commitments:
- ILVO is always clear about how, when and why animals are used in research experiments
- ILVO strengthens communication with the media and the public about research involving animals
- ILVO is proactive in providing opportunities for the public to learn more about animal testing and prevailing regulations.
- ILVO reports annually on transparency and shares experiences
Statement in support of animal research in Belgium and a transparent approach
Transparency Agreement (NL)
Read more about EARA