The Danish 3R-Center has entered its tenth year. The mission defined after the first board meeting in November 2013 was for the center to work on initiating applicable activities for immediate implementation of the 3Rs, create a forum for cooperation, discussion, exchange and dissemination of information about the 3Rs, and initiate specific research projects and recommend funding allocations by foundations for use in this field. The outlined vision was for Denmark to have a leading environment for the application and dissemination of the 3Rs.
The perception of the 3Rs changes over time. At the time of founding the 3R-Center, it was widely held that alternatives should replace specific experiments, but the board today views the entire animal-free research environment in Denmark as an important driver for visualizing the many possibilities for meeting research objectives without the use of animals. Throughout Denmark, laboratory animal facilities are working on improved and gentler animal experimentation and better housing facilities. And research funding from the 3R-Center and other foundations has helped develop methods to reduce the number of animals used for experiments.
We have not succeeded in reducing the small, but important number of animals in the severe category (severe suffering), but in our discussions with the groups of scientists that use the animal models with the highest severity, we can see that we share the ambition to reduce the number of these animals. We also hope that our two clear statements on the use of animals for teaching and for production of antibodies will help reduce the use of animals for these purposes within a foreseeable timeframe.
The Danish 3R-Center has largely succeeded in creating a leading environment for the application and dissemination of the 3Rs, and the board consequently considers our vision from 2013 to be fulfilled. The current board, which will be resigning soon has therefore been considering a new vision for the Danish 3R-Center which may inspire the future work of a new board and of the laboratory-animal and alternatives environment in general.
The original board which was re-appointed after four years is serving its tenth year, with the exception of a single member (Adrian Smith). Workload and a general election forced the Danish Parliament, the Folketing, to postpone the veterinary agreement that will secure the funding for a new four-year period, which means that the board’s term was temporarily extended twice. However, new forces may now apply for seats on the board in 2023.
As the chairman of the board, I would like to thank the current board – including the now resigned member, Adrian Smith, and Birgitte Kousholt, his replacement – for their great effort during this period.
I would also like to thank our highly professional secretariat which has been instrumental in ensuring that we could do any work at all. I would also like to thank the entire 3R environment in Denmark for the large commitment shown in fulfilling the vision for the 3Rs. Last, but not least, I would like to thank Peter Bie for contributing a lot of relevant input at the Danish 3R-Center's board meetings in his role as observer from the Animal Experiment Council.
I hope that you will find the annual report useful.
Axel Kornerup Hansen (Chairman of the board of the Danish 3R-Center & Chairman of the Danish National Committee for the Protection of Laboratory Animals Used for Scientific Purposes)
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