The Dutch State Secretary of Economic Affairs, Sharon Dijksma, is in favour of establishing an investment fund for research not involving test animals. If enough parties are willing to contribute financially, the government will pay the fund’s initial expenses.
According to a recommendation issued by scientists, the business community and Stichting Proefdiervrij (the Dutch Society for the Replacement of Animal Testing), a ‘fund for cruelty-free innovation’ should be established to finance studies and innovative methods which will ‘reduce our dependence on animal testing’. The idea is for all current initiatives and subsidy schemes for no-animal methods to be incorporated into such a fund.
World leader in research not involving animal testing
If Sharon Dijksma has her way, the Netherlands will be a ‘world leader’ in research not involving test animals by 2025. ‘I would like to uphold the think tank’s ambitions,’ the State Secretary wrote in a letter to the Lower House. She hopes to discuss the foundation of a fund with parties such as NWO (the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research), TNO (the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research) and RIVM (the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment).
The most recently published figures on animal testing concern the year 2013, when 526,593 animal tests were performed in the Netherlands. Over half (53 percent) were carried out as part of scientific research, whereas another 4 percent were performed for the purposes of education and training. The remaining 43 percent of tests were carried out for the purposes of diagnosis, developing or testing medications or vaccinations, or assessing the toxicity of certain substances.