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University LINKs Scheme

ILVO/Ghent (Belgium)

Professor Frank TuyttensProfessor Frank Tuyttens
Institute for Agricultural & Fisheries Research, ILVO
Email: frank.tuyttens@ilvo.vlaanderen.be



Dr Christel MoonsDr Christel Moons
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University
Email: Christel.Moons@UGent.be




Revised Belgian legislation now requires that each laboratory has an Animal Welfare Body, that monitors the work of the laboratory and advises on issues related to animal welfare, within the framework of the principles of The 3Rs.

On 5th February, , the Ethical Committees at Ghent University and Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO) organised a day of lectures on the animal behaviour and welfare needs of species commonly used in research, for those involved in the work of these Animal Welfare Bodies.

Thanks to support from the LINK scheme, attendance was offered free of charge and 108 people heard lectures on cattle (Ir. Sophie De Graaf) sheep (Dr. Steven Verberckmoes), rabbits and guinea-pigs (Professor dr. Katleen Hermans), and Mongolian gerbils(Prof. dr. Christel Moons). Professor Moons (the Ghent LINK) informs us that the feedback from the audience was overall very positive and that they intend to organize similar lecture days in the future.


UFAW enables fourteen students interested in animal welfare to attend the Benelux conference of the International Society for Applied Ethology 2014

Fourteen students in Benelux(Petra Briene, Elodie Bullens, Suzy Deurinck, Jonna Koper, Sander van Leeuwen, Tessa van Maurik, Annemarie Mens, Anouschka Middelkoop, Anne van den Oever, Ellen de Ryck, Anne-Marieke Smid, Anouk van Spronsen, Cathy Vanopdenbosch and Margret Wenker)

On the 8th of October 2014, the annual ISAE Benelux conference was held at the Venco Campus in Eersel, the Netherlands. The conference was divided over four sessions: early life, group housing of farm and lab animals, resources and enrichment and development and evaluation of tools and protocols. Together with two posters, these sessions covered very interesting topics regarding the welfare of sows, cows, poultry, horses, sheep, goats, rabbits, ferrets and parrots. Through the LINK scheme, UFAW enabled fourteen enthusiastic students from the Benelux to attend. On behalf of these students, I would like to thank UFAW for the experience gained. At the conference, we were able to share our interest in animal welfare with others (among experts) and all gained knowledge regarding the current state of art of animal welfare. Many of the students are highly motivated to pursue a scientific career in animal welfare and behaviour. The ISAE Benelux conference contributed to interaction among students and welfare experts and offered inspiration for opportunities to improve the well-being of animals in the future. 

Anouschka Middelkoop
MSc student Animal Sciences, Wageningen University, the Netherlands

Proposal for UFAW financial support: Lectures on animal welfare
In experimental settings

The Belgian legislation regarding the protection of laboratory animals has recently been revised (KB29th May 2013) based on the EU Directive 2010/63/EU. As a result, each laboratory is now required to set up an Animal Welfare Body, composed of at least one animal caretaker and one person in charge of leading experiments. The purpose of this Body is to advise on and monitor issues related to animal welfare, specific to its lab, within the framework of the 3R principle.

To support the functioning of the newly established Animal Welfare Bodies in relation to the Refinement principle, the Ethical Committees at Ghent University and Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO) organized a lecture day during which key information about laboratory animal behaviour and welfare was provided for a selected number of laboratory animal species (mice and rats, horses, dogs, cats, pigs, and chickens). The lectures were organized in a condensed format of species-specific presentations (1.25 hours each) on 22nd May 2014. The lecturers were Dr. Frank Tuyttens (pigs and chickens), Dr. Harry Blom (mice and rats), Dr. Machteld Van Dierendonck (horses), Dr. Tiny De Keuster (dogs), and Dr. Christel Moons (cats).


Thanks to the support of UFAW, attendance to this symposium was offered free of charge. A total of 144 people attended one or more lectures at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Ghent University. The feedback from the audience was overall very positive and we intend to organize another lecture day focusing on a different selection of species.