Animal testing is legal in medicine, but killing animals without good reason is not. However, mice and the like are killed because they do not meet the requirements of the experiments. Therefore, Doctors Against Animal Experimentation filed criminal charges against institutes and laboratories.
Laboratory mice at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) sometimes live for only a few days, sometimes for two years. The DKFZ region of Heidelberg is currently home to about 44,300 mice, according to veterinarian Annallina Redach. With her colleagues, she cares about the welfare of the animals scientists are researching on. According to the Federal Institute for Risk Evaluation (BfR), nearly 1.9 million vertebrates and cephalopods – such as octopuses – were used in experiments across Germany in 2020. In 2017 it was 2.8 million.
However, not all animals that are bred for experiments actually end up in laboratories. According to NOZ, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture estimates that about four million animals in Germany were not used for experiments in 2017, and therefore were killed as surplus.
Animals were killed for no reason
The wrong sex, unwanted genes, and other characteristics ensure that researchers judge the animals as unsuitable for experiments. Doctors Against Animal Experimentation and the German Legal Society for Animal Protection have filed 14 criminal charges against laboratories and institutes that are supposed to kill animals because they are not necessary. Killing animals without a valid reason is against the Animal Welfare Act. According to the press release from the association, the University of Frankfurt, several Max Planck Institutes and the Paul Erich Institute are among the exhibits.
It is not yet known how the courts and prosecutors will rule, but there are turmoil in the scientific community, Andreas Lingling was quoted in Die Zeit newspaper. He is the representative of animal experimentation in basic research, and said, “The accusation that they killed the animals for no reason also attacks the researchers on their honor.”
According to a media report, the head of the Association for Laboratory Animal Science at Heidelberg University fears that biomedical research in Germany will stop overnight if these animals are not killed. In addition, there is the question of alternatives. Do animals have to live to die of natural causes? For this, however, the capacity of the animal coop must be increased.
Researchers argue in favor of animal testing
Scientists continue to argue that animal testing is necessary. So does the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). The foundation has already campaigned in the past to understand animal testing. DKFZ scientists are convinced that this is the only way to develop effective drugs against tumors. Of course, opponents have a completely different opinion. Veterinarian Gabi Neumann, a physician opposed to animal experiments, said at the request of the German news agency (dpa): “Ninety-five percent of effective and well-tolerated cancer drugs in animal experiments fail in subsequent studies in humans. Basically Because it doesn’t work or cause serious side effects.”
Some research institutes are trying to change animal testing practices so that fewer surplus animals are produced. “The researchers point out the importance of animal experiments, but they are also actively working on new possibilities and assigning a central role to animal welfare and animal husbandry,” Science Minister Theresia Bauer (Greenz) said at the request of the dpa news agency in Stuttgart. It will remain essential to biomedical research for the foreseeable future. Also in the basic search.
Yet, according to animal-testing discount Newman, more than 99 percent of public money flows into experimental animal research—and just less than 1 percent into animal-free technologies. “This needs to change, because modern medicine needs modern research models – which are human-based and animal-free.”
With material from dpa
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