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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How do animals benefit from animal research?

Versuchstier im Labor
Image: Institut für Labortierkunde

No, animals also benefit from animal testing. Just as in human medicine, drugs and treatments in veterinary medicine must be tested for their efficacy and risk before they are approved. This is done with studies on the animal species in which a drug is later to be used.

In addition, there is a whole range of experiments on the husbandry, behaviour, and welfare of animals, which can be used, for example, to improve their living conditions in agriculture. Researchers for example observe a flock of chickens and document in which terrain structures and areas of the enclosure they prefer to stay. From this data, insights can be gained into the species-appropriate housing of these chickens. Even if the scientists only observe the animals in such studies, they count as animal experiments. This also applies to the attachment of transmitters to wild animals for ecological research, as well as to the use of live animals to train veterinarians, farmers or employees of emergency organisations such as police, ambulance services, etc.).

In addition, there are also projects in basic research whose benefits are not directly aimed at researching or treating a disease, but whose goal is to increase knowledge about basic biological processes. Research projects to protect the environment, which generally do not tend to be directly aimed at human diseases, may also involve animal experiments.