New TIR brochure: Stop indiscriminate funding of animal experiments!
According to the Swiss Animal Welfare Act, animal experiments are only permissible if they are indispensable and if the anticipated gain in knowledge outweigh the stress on the animals in the context of a balance of interests. However, these legal requirements are not adequately considered by the current system of licensing and research funding. A suitable measure to counteract this deficiency would be to introduce a systematic review of the benefits of animal experiments, as Tier im Recht (TIR; Foundation for the Animal in the Law) explains in its brochure.
September 10, 2021
Research based on animal experiments is increasingly criticized not only in view of animal ethics, but also from a scientific standpoint. One criticism is that results from animal experiments often cannot be reproduced in subsequent experiments and that, in most cases, the findings cannot be extrapolated to humans. Nevertheless, animal experiments are still routinely approved. In Switzerland, for example, less than one percent of all requested animal experiments are rejected. In addition, research on animals is supported with huge public subsidies. In view of the scientific objections, the uncritical financial support for animal experiments by public authorities and the blind trust of the animal experiment commissions and approval authorities in the benefit of animal experiments is unjustified. To create a solid basis for decisions on research funding and on the approval of projects involving animal experiments, there is an urgent need to subject animal experiments to a systematic benefit assessment.
The pressing necessity for action in the field of animal experiments is also reflected in the recently published animal experiments statistics of the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) for 2020. With 556,107 animals used in experiments, there is indeed an overall decrease of 2.8 percent compared to 2019. However, there has been a steady increase in the number of animals used in severely stressful experiments for several years now, which is highly alarming.
In the course of the parliamentary deliberations on the initiative to ban animal experiments, on which the Swiss population is expected to vote next year, TIR, together with National Councillor Meret Schneider (GPS/ZH), advocated for a systematic evaluation of the benefits of animal experiments and the development of an exit plan from animal testing based on the results of the evaluation. However, the request was rejected by the National Council. For TIR, this decision is incomprehensible. From an ethical as well as a scientific and not least from an economic point of view, it is simply irresponsible to routinely approve stressful experiments on animals and to fund them with multi-million figures without thoroughly examining their effectiveness. TIR will therefore continue to advocate for the introduction of a systematic benefit assessment in the field of animal experiments.
For more information on the need for a thorough review of the benefits of animal experiments and on the problems of the current approval and funding system, please see our facrsheet (in German). All TIR factsheets can be ordered free of charge from the TIR office or via our web shop.
- TIR Fact sheet no. 55 "Stop indiscriminate funding of animal experiments!" (in German)