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How we protect animals

At the LCSB, we place high standards of welfare at the centre of all our animal research, as animal welfare and scientific quality go hand-in-hand. If an animal is suffering stress or pain it could negatively affect the results of the research. Therefore, besides our moral convictions compelling us to ensure animal welfare and use minimum numbers, it makes good scientific sense to house animals in the best possible conditions and to make sure they get the best possible care from skilled and experienced caretakers.

If a researcher is convinced that research using an animal model is the only way to answer an important scientific question, he must first apply for internal ethical approval at the Animal Experimentation Ethics Committee (AEEC) of the University of Luxembourg. This committee includes veterinary consultants, researchers, and animal facility staff. It aims to ensure that the principles of the 3Rs are considered:

  1. Replacement - Alternatives to animals are used wherever possible
  2. Reduction - The minimum number of animals are used to achieve scientifically valid results
  3. Refinement - Experiments are designed to reduce any possible distress or pain caused to the animals

If a project receives approval by the AEEC, an application is submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture who performs an additional investigation before considering granting the authorization. A Project Authorization is a legal document, which defines the limits and conditions under which animals may be used.

No scientific procedure can be undertaken if there are non-animal alternatives available to answer the same question or if it might cause unnecessary harm to the animals.

LCSB has taken the following measures to maintain the highest standards of care and welfare: 

  1. Each animal facility at the LCSB has a full time competent facility manager who is an animal experimentation certified researcher with a team of trained animal care technologists to look after the welfare of the animals and help to create a culture of care.
  2. All our facilities have access to a veterinary consultant who regularly inspects the animals and advises on a wide range of animal welfare issues.
  3. Our staff is only allowed to perform animal research, or look after the animals, after the completion of special training. These qualifications vary from basic animal care courses to degree-level courses (FELASA certificates) depending on the research performed.
  4. Together, the animal facility manager, the veterinarian consultant, the animal caretaker and two researchers form the Animal Welfare Body, which ensures that all procedures are done ensuring the highest standards of animal welfare according to the European Directive.