Unit Laboratory Animal Science
‘Refinement’ is given special emphasis by the member states in accordance with Article 4 of European Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes. Thus, within the scope of experimental processes, methods should be used or improved in the breeding, accommodation, care and handling of animals which eliminate or reduce to a minimum the potential pain, suffering, anxiety or permanent damage of the animals (Refinement).
With the entry into force of the third law amending the Animal Welfare Act (TierSchG) and the regulation implementing Directive 2010/63/EU (TierSchVersV), the BfR must advise the responsible authorities in matters related to the 3R principle (especially refinement) in accordance with § 46 TierSchVersV on the one hand, and on the other hand the responsible authorities and animal welfare committees in matters connected with the acquisition, breeding, accommodation, care and utilisation of animals in experiments in line with § 15a TierSchG in conjunction with § 45 TierSchVersV.
In Germany as approximately 2.8 million animals are still used in experiments every year. Measures to reduce the suffering and enhance the wellbeing of test animals (refinement measures) are required in order to achieve a significant improvement of animal welfare for animals in experiment. Scientific examinations are required which measure changes to the husbandry and/or test conditions are effective in achieving a real improvement with regard to the reduced suffering and enhanced wellbeing of the various animal species.
The Unit Laboratory Animal Science at the BfR researches measures to reduce distress, determines objective criteria to estimate distress, compiles existing knowledge and makes the current level of scientific knowledge available to the general public, responsible authorities and animal welfare committees. The Unit Animal Protection and Laboratory Animal Science at the BfR cooperates closely with national and international research institutions and the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture.