Promoting transparency to avoid animal experiments
The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has become one of the first signatories to the German Transparency Agreement. This joint project from the Permanent Senate Commission on Animal Protection and Experimentation at the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Understanding Animal Research initiative ("Tierversuche verstehen") from the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany will be launched on July 1, 2021. The project's declared aims include promoting transparency and openness in communicating information about the use of animal experiments in research. The BfR has been active in this field for many years with its German Centre for the Protection of Laboratory Animals (Bf3R). "Animal experiments need to be based on transparency if they are to be accepted by the public", comments BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. "Our animal experiment databases AnimalTestInfo, and Animal Study Registry aim to promote understanding about animal experiments and avoid unnecessary animal experiments."
More on the initiative (German):
The BfR has been publishing summaries of animal experiments approved in Germany since 2014. Information on every animal experiment approved in this country can be called up on AnimalTestInfo. Citizens can find out why animal experiments are carried out exactly, which and how many animals are used and which measures have been taken in advance to limit the number of animals and keep their exposure to a minimum.
The transparent presentation of the active project approvals paints a comprehensive picture of the German research landscape and also allows a look at animal experiments planned in the future. Every animal experiment must be approved in advance by a competent authority. As soon as this happens, a summary will be published on AnimalTestInfo. Since January 1, 2021, these summaries have also been sent to the European Commission, which has established its own system (ALURES-DECLARE) after submission by AnimalTestInfo. In the future, project summaries from all EU member states will be published here.
In addition, the AnimalStudyRegistry (ASR) database launched by the Bf3R in 2019 increases the quality of scientific studies on an international level. Animal studies are already registered in this database while the experiment is being planned. The aim is to encourage researchers to publish research findings that have not led to the desired study result. It is precisely these experiments that can contain important information for other researchers and thus help to avoid duplicate animal experiments.
Other advantages of registration include experiment planning that is better designed and more goal-oriented, as well as results that are easier to interpret and raise scientific standards. And: Those who register their experiment in advance can also increase their own credibility by ruling out the possibility that the experiment objectives were only formulated afterwards. The ASR database aims to ensure more transparent research of a higher quality - that is i.e. easier to interpret - while protecting laboratory animals. These two factors go hand in hand.
In addition to the databases, the BfR also conducts research with animals, for example on improving housing and test conditions for laboratory mice. By signing the transparency initiative, the BfR continues to commit itself to advocating for more transparency for animal experiments and to helping to shape the public dialogue on this topic. This includes an intensive dialogue with all stakeholders and interested parties. The relevant information on activities to promote communication about animal experiments is easily accessible and kept up to date. Overall, the commitment to the German Transparency Agreement helps to strengthen research and animal welfare.
The German Centre for the Protection of Laboratory Animals (Bf3R) was founded in 2015 and is an integral part of the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR). It co-ordinates nationwide activities with the goals of restricting animal experiments to only those which are considered essential, and guaranteeing the best possible protection for laboratory animals. Moreover, it intends to stimulate research activities and encourage scientific dialogue.
About the BfR
The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientifically independent institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in Germany. The BfR advises the Federal Government and the States ('Laender') on questions of food, chemical and product safety. The BfR conducts its own research on topics that are closely linked to its assessment tasks.
This text version is a translation of the original German text, which is the only legally binding version.