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3Rs collaboration with government agencies

In Sweden there are a number of government agencies that, to a varying degree, are involved in activities related to animals in research. The Swedish 3Rs Center runs a project to support governmental agencies in their work related to the 3Rs principle.

These agencies are the Swedish Chemicals Agency (Kemikalieinspektionen), the Swedish Medical Products Agency (Läkemedelsverket), the Swedish Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket), The National Veterinary Institute (SVA), the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (HAV), and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket).

Collaboration with the Swedish Chemicals Agency

For several years, the Swedish 3Rs Center has worked in close collaboration with the Swedish Chemicals Agency, who is national co-ordinator for the OECD test guidelines programme, to support the involvement of Swedish experts in different expert groups that work at the OECD-level to develop internationally harmonised test methods for regulatory use, so called OECD Test Guidelines. The work at the OECD level has a strong 3Rs focus and an ambitious aim to accelerate the pace of chemical safety testing and assessment, reduce and ultimately replace the use of laboratory animals, and to better protect human health and the environment.

This Replace focus is in line with the recent initiative of an EU roadmap towards phasing out animal testing for chemical safety testing. The Swedish 3Rs Center has also supported participation of Swedish validation expertise to the French initiative of a platform for the validation of endocrine disruptors characterization methods; PEPPER.

We asked representatives from the Swedish Chemical Agency to reflect on our collaboration:

— One of the goals of the EU chemicals legislation is to ensure a high level of protection of human health and environment, including the promotion of alternative methods for assessment of hazards of substances. Therefore, ambitious 3R-work is needed – both in the application of the legislation as such but also within the scientific and test developer communities. The national platform that the Swedish 3Rs Center provides for knowledge-sharing between different stakeholders is important for the efficiency of this 3R-work at the national level. We highly appreciate our fruitful collaboration that has made it possible for Sweden to support development of so-called New Approach Methodologies at OECD, as well as the important support that the Swedish 3Rs Center has provided to PEPPER.

Collaboration with the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management

In September, the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management held a workshop on the theme “3Rs in evaluation of fish populations” with the Swedish 3Rs Center as co-organiser. Representatives from several organisations, including academia, governmental authorities, county administrative boards and a sports fishing association participated during this lunch-to-lunch meeting.

Many fruitful discussions took place and resulted in several proposals for the continuous future work with implementation of the 3Rs principle in the work with evaluation of fish populations.