2.3. Other references in the international context
These actions echo, reflect and are in part originated by initiatives under development in other community countries. Such initiatives in some cases adopt the form of an institution associated to and/or dependent upon the Administration of the country in question (e.g., ZET in Austria, or ZEBET in Germany), or operate as more or less structured non-governmental, scientific-social groupings.
France. In reference to the latter category, the French Societé de Pharmaco-Toxicologie Cellulaire (SPTC) is undoubtedly the most consolidated scientific grouping. It is structured as a conventional scientific society and possesses some 500 active members. The Society was implanted in 1987, and since then has held periodic scientific meetings. It has established agreements with one of the specialized journals in the field (Cell Biology and Toxicology), which has become the official organ of the Society. The latter represents an obliged reference in France in the field of alternative methodologies, with fluid connections to both the Administration and Industry.
Italy. Scientific activity in the area of alternative methods is fundamentally grouped around the Italian Society of Cellular Toxicology (CELLTOX). Although this Society has special collaboration ties with the Societies of Toxicology and Pharmacology, its possesses the structure and directing body characteristic of other scientific societies. CELLTOX groups the most active entities in Italy. In this sense, mention should be made of the existence of a group specialized in in vitro toxicology in the frame of the Italian Society of Toxicology.
German speaking countries. The German speaking countries in Europe (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) have a number of organizations - scientific (Mitteleuropäische Gessellschaft für Alternativmethoden zu Tierversuchen, MEGAT; Akademie für Tierschutz), social (Deutscher Tierschutzband; Bundesverband Tierschutz Arbeitgemeinschaft; the Swiss Institute for Alternatives to Animal Testing, SIAT) and industrial (Verband der Chemischen Industrie) - as well as a series of state organisms (ZEBET, AET) in charge of coordinating the development, application and legal recognition of alternative methods.
United Kingdom. On one hand, the United Kingdom features a scientific society with nearly one hundred members (the In vitro Toxicology Society, IVTS), together with non-profit organizations such as the Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments (FRAME) - which supports the development of research in associated university laboratories and the organization of scientific meetings. This Fund was the first to implement a data base on alternative methods, which has since been transferred to the ECVAM. The United Kingdom possesses no specific state entity analogous to the German ZEBET, though the Home Office has held periodic meetings with scientists, and has even sponsored multicentric validation projects.
The Netherlands. Very active despite the small size of the country, the Netherlands in vitro Toxicology Group features a little over fifty Dutch scientists, and facilitates scientific exchanges and meetings. It possesses a societal structure and has a smaller counterpart (the Netherlands Alternatives to Animal Experiments Platform) with a more important social component, concerned with the creation of public opinion favorable to the adoption of alternative methods. A recent creation (1994) is in turn represented by the Netherlands Center for Alternatives to Animal Use (NCA). Structured as an independent entity rather than as a scientific society, this organism promotes the use and acceptance of alternative methods in the Netherlands.
Scandinavia. The Scandinavian countries likewise possess entities of a fundamentally scientific nature, such as the Scandinavian Society for Cell toxicology (SSCT), and industrial concerns such as the AMFEP - as well as social movements actively implicated in promoting public awareness of the need for progressively adopting alternative methodologies.
Belgium. A recent creation is the Belgian Platform for Alternative Methods, which aims to group representatives from the University setting, Industry, and protectionist groups. Membership is to be via invitation, and the Platform is to adopt the structure of an organized group rather than of a society as such.