Universiteit Leiden

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Animal Welfare Body Leiden (AWB)

The Animal Welfare Body Leiden (AWB) is an internal entity responsible for the well-being of all laboratory animals at Leiden University and the Leiden University Medical Center. It is actively involved in all aspects of research involving animals. The AWB has several legal responsibilities, including providing advice, monitoring, registering and overseeing laboratory animals and all research that involves animals.

The tasks of the Animal Welfare Body Leiden

The Animal Welfare Body Leiden has tasks commissioned by the LUMC and Leiden University. These tasks largely arise from the Dutch Animals Experiments Act. We summarise these tasks into 4 core functions:

  1. Guiding the licensing process
  • The AWB serves as the initial point of contact for researchers considering an animal experiment. The AWB, in collaboration with the researcher, makes an ethical assessment and provides advice as needed during the drafting of a project proposal.
  • Coordinates the project in detail with the researcher. When necessary, the AWB seeks assistance from a veterinarian or other expert. Throughout this process, careful consideration is given to potential alternatives for the research, as well as methods to reduce and refine the use of laboratory animals.
  • Guides and advises researchers in the application for a project license from the Central Authority for Scientific Procedures on Animals (CCD).

The chairperson of the AWB also serves as an internal supervisor and advises the Leiden Animal Ethics Committee (DEC Leiden). This independent committee provides recommendations to the CCD regarding the issuance of licenses for research projects involving laboratory animals.

  1. Reviewing research proposals

During the review of research proposals, the AWB carefully discusses the course of the project with researchers. The AWB also assists, where possible, in exploring alternatives, with a strong emphasis on refinement and reduction possibilities within the proposed research.

  1. Monitoring laboratory animals and the conduct of animal experiments
  • The internal supervisor of the AWB, in collaboration with the team and colleagues at the animal facilities, discusses the internal operational procedures. This ensures the welfare of all animals.
  • The AWB conducts visits to observe the animals, animal experiments, and the documentation of animal experiments. Based on these visits, they discuss the progress of the projects and explore opportunities to reduce and refine animal experiments.


  1. Advice on the conduct of animal experiments

The AWB Leiden:

  • Provides advice to personnel handling animals on aspects of animal welfare related to the acquisition, housing, care, and handling of animals.
  • Keeps the personnel informed about technical and scientific developments related to laboratory animals.
  • Advises facilities on policies regarding the adoption and welfare of animals.
  • Advises the license holder of Leiden University on policies and transparency concerning animal experiments.

Who works for the AWB Leiden?

The team consists of four permanent staff members: one employee, two scientific staff members, and a chairperson. The chairperson also serves as the supervisor.

A group of 16 scientists from the LUMC and Leiden University provide advice on policy and procedures. For all project applications, modifications, and notifications regarding projects, the AWB involves one or more active scientists.

Where necessary, the AWB consults the designated veterinarian.

Questions or comments?

Please contact the AWB Leiden.

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