From June 10-12 ecopa organized with an EU grant based on the CONAM project and joint funding from industry and animal welfare a consensus meeting for the members of National Platforms (NCPs) on the topics Refinement and Replacement.

More than 30 members of Platforms took part from United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, Italy and Czech Republic. Two days of workshops were devoted to the question how to find consensus among stakeholders with different ethical positions in a platform that have to make a choice in its policy. What do you consider as unacceptable suffering that have to reduced by refinement procedures? To what extent is there some consensus among all countries and all stakeholders? What are the alternatives? Who are the parties who can facilitate the implementation of the alternatives? What difficulties are to be expected to realize these alternatives?

The second day was structured in a comparable fashion around the issue the status of animals and to what extent different views exist under the four stakeholder parties (or countries)?

The final session on the last day focused on the challenges to make a Platform active and operational. The options for additional funding and the necessity for commitment from the government were discussed.

The meeting served also as opportunity to exchange experiences with each other and get inspired by the way Platforms in different countries find the options to use the added value of the four stakeholders for constructive activities in the realm of the three Rs.

Communication was one of the suggestions for a follow-up workshop. It was felt that a Platform have to invest in communication as well as towards the government as towards the domains of science and public. Examples of good practices and training in skills were mentioned as important aspects.

The discussions are available being analyzed and will be published on the ecopa web-site by September. A part of the results will be also communicated as a poster during the World Congress on Alternatives in Berlin (August 23-27 2005).