Ethical Committee for Animal Experimentation (ECAE)

Shoot17 Biomedische 12 Shoot17 Biomedische 12

About ECAE

The Ethical Committee for Animal Experimentation (ECAE):

  • evaluates planned tests
  • monitors the required level of education and competence of the people who participate in the tests
  • sets out criteria for ethical aspects regarding animal testing
  • provides advice to users, test leaders and employees on the ethical aspects of animal testing
  • carries out a retrospective analysis of all projects
  • ensures that planned tests fulfill Belgian and European legislation.

ECAE internal rules (pdf, 154 KB)

Internal regulation and general legislation

Procedure, evaluation & retrospective analysis


  1. The researcher sends the completed application form to The researcher will take the possible meeting dates  of the ECAE into account.
  2. The researcher will receive a confirmation mail from the ECAE with a reference number for the follow-up of his/her application.
    For new studies, researchers are invited to discuss their matrix during the meeting. If studies contain adjustments and/or a prolongation of existing studies, changes are examined during the meeting and feedback will be communicated to the researcher via e-mail.
  3. The application will be assessed during the ECAE meeting. If necessary, the ECAE chairman will formulate comments and/or questions (during the meeting but also by e-mail). Researchers have 1 week to answer them and then they have to send the modified application form back to, with the adjustments clearly indicated
  4. Answers are assessed by the ECAE. If sufficient, the researcher receives the approval certificate together with the latest version of the application.
  5. The application form together with the approval certificate must be submitted in Tick@lab  so that the researchers can start their experiments with animal testing.
  6. As soon as the experimental study is finished, researchers have to fill out a retrospectieve analysis (pdf, 524 KB) and send it back to the ECAE.

detailed flowchart (pdf, 197 KB)

Project evaluation

The evaluation of a project is based on national and international guidelines as laid down in the Act of 14 August 1986, concerning the protection and welfare of animals, and the Royal Decree (RD) of 29 May 2013 concerning the protection of laboratory animals. This RD is a direct consequence of the new European Directive 2010/63 / EU on the use of animals for scientific purposes.

For the evaluation of a project the ECAE uses a research proposal to the model of an ethical matrix form. The ECAE schedules a monthly consultation with the responsible researchers of the submitted projects, in which the dialogue between the researchers and the ECAE members forms the basis for the decision.

The project evaluation is carried out comprehensively, tuned to the type of project and is specifically intended to verify whether the project meets the following criteria:

  • the project is legally required or justified from a scientific or educational perspective
  • the purposes of the project justify the use of animals; if alternatives exist, it is forbidden to use laboratory animals
  • the project has been set up in such a way that animal testing is carried out as humane and environmentally friendly as possible

The project evaluation includes in particular:

  • an assessment of the objectives of the project and the predicted scientific benefits or educational values
  • an assessment of whether the project is in line with the required replacement, reduction and refinement
  • an assessment of the classification of the project according to the severity of the animal tests
  • a damage-benefit analysis of the project, in which it is verified whether the damage in the form of suffering, pain and fear of the animals is justified by the expected result, taking into account ethical considerations, and in the long term can yield benefits for humans, animals or environment
  • an assessment of the scientific justifications
  • a list of humane endpoints; these are criteria to prevent more inconvenience to an animal than is strictly necessary for the purpose of the experiment (for example by killing the animal or taking other appropriate measures).

Every change to the research proposal (e.g. the number of animals to be used, the research methods used, the duration of the animal experiment) must be submitted to the ECAE for approval before being allowed to continue the experiment. An interim evaluation of the already performed experiments must also be added to the research protocol.

An application for approval by the ECAE must also contain a non-confidential non-technical summary (NTS) of the research proposal. This summary contains information about the objectives of the animal experiment, the number and types of test animals used. This summary should also provide an estimate of the predicted damage and benefits of the animal experiment and at the same time demonstrate that the required replacement, reduction and refinement of animal testing are met. The summaries of the approved projects are made public.

Retrospective analysis of projects

At the end of the animal experiment, a retrospective analysis must be submitted to the ECAE. This includes an overview of the experiments carried out, the animals used for this (number, species, sex, etc.), insights for alternatives resulting from the experiments carried out, and also a welfare evaluation of the animal experiment in which a comparison is made between the estimated inconvenience before the test and the real distress experienced by the animals during the test (with explanation of a possible discrepancy).

All data relating to an animal test or research proposal are kept for up to three years after the end of the animal test to which the data relate.

Meeting calendar

Thursday September 14, 2021

14:15 - 17:00

Deadline for submission: September 7, 2021

Thursday September 14, 2021

14:15 - 17:00

Deadline for submission: September 7, 2021

Thursday September 14, 2021

14:15 - 17:00

Deadline for submission: September 7, 2021

Thursday September 14, 2021

14:15 - 17:00

Deadline for submission: September 7, 2021


The Ethics Committee is composed of at least seven members.

The members of the Ethics Committee have specific expertise that provides the necessary proficiency in ethics, alternative methods for animal testing, animal health and welfare as well as research techniques, experimental design and statistical analyses.

The ECAE ensures that no conflict of interest occurs during the performance of its duties and that the evaluation of each application occurs objectively and impartially

  • the veterinarian or expert charged with monitoring the health and welfare of the animals is part of the committee
  • a representative of the Animal Welfare body is part of the committee

ECAE composition (pdf, 208 KB)

The Animal Welfare Cell is charged with:

  • providing advice to the staff who handles the test animals regarding animal welfare related to the purchase, housing, care and use of the laboratory animals;
  • advising staff on the application of the regulations for replacement, reduction and refinement and keeping the technical and scientific developments concerning the application of the regulations up to date;
  • ensuring the establishment and testing of in-company procedures for monitoring, reporting and follow-up with regard to the well-being of the experimental animals housed or used in the establishment.
  • monitoring the development and results of projects, taking into account the effects on the used animals, mapping the elements that can contribute to replacement, reduction and refinement and providing advice on this
  • providing advice on adoption regulations, including advice on the appropriate socialization of the test animals released for adoption
  • ensuring that breeding, housing and care are refined in order to prevent or minimize any pain, suffering, fear and enduring damage that the animals may experience.

Internal regulation will be added as soon as it's approved by the Faculty Board.

This cell must include at least one representative of the persons responsible for the special care of the laboratory animals and, where appropriate, a representative of the test leaders. The expert in charge of monitoring the health and well-being of the animals has an accompanying task in this cell. A responsible member of the Animal Welfare Cell is also a member of the ECAE.

The animal welfare body can be contacted via, regarding questions/concerns about animal welfare.

other contact information (pdf, 466 KB)