Task of the ZEBET

ZEBET is the "Center for Documentation and Evaluation of Alternative Methods to Animal Experiments" at the BfR. It was founded in 1989 with the aim of limiting the use of animals for scientific purposes to the necessary extent and to develop alternatives to animal experiments.

The 3R principle for alternative methods

The goal of scientific animal protection is to be achieved by the 3R principle:

  • Replace - Avoid animal experiments by using alternative methods
  • Reduce - reduce the number of test animals to the minimum
  • Refine - reduction of the suffering of the experimental animals

The 3R principle was developed by William Russel and Rex Burch in 1959 (http://altweb.jhsph.edu/pubs/books/humane_exp/het-toc).

Development of alternative methods for animal experiments

ZEBET researches, develops and validates alternative methods according to the 3R principle in its own laboratory.

It has shown particular success with the development of alternative methods in the field

  • Of phototoxicity
  • Of toxicity to skin and eye
  • Of developmental toxicity using embryonic stem cells. This method investigates the potential of a substance to affect the growth and development of organisms.

Research funding and international cooperation

ZEBET works with national, international and supranational bodies such as the EU Commission, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). This cooperation aims to scientifically evaluate alternative methods and to promote their recognition and implementation in laws and directives.

In addition, regular scientific events, including expert meetings, are being held to promote dialogue between scientists and academics from universities and industry, government representatives and animal welfare organizations.

Advice on scientific animal protection issues

ZEBET advises the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and other federal ministries as well as state authorities and the EU Commission.

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