[The role of animal testing advisory committees in biomedical research in Germany] [Article in German]

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Ursula G. Sauer
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In accordance with the German Animal Welfare Act, animal experiments in fundamental biomedical research may only be performed after licensing by the responsible authority. This license may only be granted if the experiments are considered indispensable and if the distress of the animals seems ethically acceptable in relation to the purpose of the study. Since 1987 advisory committees have been established to support the authorities in the evaluation of these provisions. Animal welfare organisations had expected case-by-case evaluations of the indispensability of research proposals and of the distress of the animals and the scientific benefit of the experiments to take place in these committees, so that such projects that would not meet the criteria of ethical acceptability could be prevented. However, already the lack of parity in the advisory committees alone, in which as a rule four scientists counterpart two representatives from animal welfare organisations, oftentimes prevents a balanced discussion of these provisions from taking place. Additionally, due to the freedom of science granted in the German Constitution without reservations, until 2002 also the licensing authorities were merely permitted to perform a formal examination of the applications. In the meantime, by including animal welfare as a national objective in the Constitution, the preconditions were made to enable an examination of the contents. From the point of view of animal welfare it therefore is to be requested that now also the advisory committees are ascribed more importance in the course of the licensing procedure and to establish the legal framework for this, if necessary by a revision of the Animal Welfare Act.    

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Sauer, U. G. (2006) “[The role of animal testing advisory committees in biomedical research in Germany] [Article in German]”, ALTEX - Alternatives to animal experimentation, 23(1), pp. 29–31. Available at: https://altex.org/index.php/altex/article/view/855 (Accessed: 22 April 2024).
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