Animal experimentation: are we allowed to do that? In this thematic portal, researchers of the Swiss Laboratory Animal Science Association give answers to frequently asked questions.

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Why not just ban animal testing?

Tierversuch Maus
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Shouldn't we just ban all animal experiments in Switzerland?

Banning all animal experiments may sound like a simple solution to improve the protection of animals and have a clear conscience. But banning all experiments in Switzerland does not prevent them from being carried out but is rather shifting them abroad. They may then be carried out outside of Switzerland and outside of Europe, where animal welfare conditions are often massively worse.

Switzerland has one of the strictest animal protection laws in the world, and the question arises whether it really serves the protection of animals to ban animal experiments in a country where they are more strictly controlled. Consequently, one would have to be prepared to do without medicines and therapies that were researched and developed under worse animal welfare conditions abroad. And this is not possible in the long run, because medicines lose their effectiveness (e.g. antibiotics that become ineffective because germs become resistant) and new developments are urgently needed. In addition, new diseases are always emerging – as we experienced vividly during the COVID 19 pandemic – for which effective drugs or vaccines would then be lacking. And even if one were willing to do without new medicines, animal testing remains indispensable for certain areas. For example, a veterinary student must learn to apply certain examinations and surgical methods on animals if he or she wants to successfully treat animals later in his or her career.

Why are animal tests for cosmetics not banned?

De facto, animal experiments for cosmetics are not permitted in Switzerland. They do not meet the legal requirements for authorisation under the Animal Protection Ordinance Art. 137. The Federal Council has issued a statement on this in response to a parliamentary motion: "Animal experiments may only be carried out in Switzerland if they are indispensable. Therefore, stressful animal experiments must be limited to the indispensable extent (Art. 17 of the Animal Protection Act; SR 455). Animal experiments for cosmetic products do not meet the requirements applicable to them (Art. 137 para. 1 of the Animal Protection Ordinance, TSchV; SR 455.1). Therefore, animal experiments for cosmetic products may no longer be carried out in Switzerland, even if there is no explicit ban. Although a permit was granted several years ago for the testing of UV filters for sunscreen products, this was only justifiable because the testing of UV filters clearly serves to preserve human health and thus the requirements under Article 137 TSchV were met."