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Legal and ethical framework for animal testing

In Germany, the Animal Welfare Act (TierSchG) and the Laboratory Animal Welfare Ordinance (TierSchVerV), which is based on it, are decisive for the legal framework conditions in connection with animal testing. These legal regulations define the conditions for authorization and requirements for the conduct of animal tests as well as the conditions for keeping laboratory animals. It is regulated by law who is allowed to carry out animal tests or what qualifications are required, for what purposes animal tests may be carried out, how laboratory animals are kept and how they must be treated during and after the test.

In addition, institutions working on animal experiments are obliged to appoint at least one animal welfare officer with the appropriate professional qualifications and authority, as well as an animal welfare committee. Facilities in which animal tests are carried out shall be subject to control by the competent authorities. The animal welfare officers and the veterinary office regularly carry out checks on animal husbandry and animal testing in order to ensure compliance with animal welfare requirements.

According to the Animal Welfare Act, animal experiments are only approved if there is scientific justification, the necessity of carrying out the tests for the intended purpose is established and there is no alternative but to carry out research on animals. This also means that the desired result cannot yet be made known. In addition to the structural and personnel requirements, ethical justifiability is another important requirement for approval. In doing so, it is necessary to weigh the burden on the laboratory animal and the expected gain in knowledge. Whether an animal experiment is ethically justifiable can never be decided in general, but only on a case-by-case basis.

Further information on the legal framework and ethical aspects can be found at the following links: