What procedures are in place to ensure that the experiments are conducted in accordance with the legal stipulations?

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Permission must be obtained from the appropriate Cantonal Veterinary Office for every animal experiment conducted in Switzerland.

For every individual request, the Cantonal Animal Welfare Committee will determine whether the benefit of the experiment justifies the suffering of an animal, through benefit/harm analysis. In this context, benefit/harm analysis weighs for example knowledge gain, restoration or protection of the health of humans or animals against the protection of the animal from distress (pain, injury, fear). In doing so, compliance with the 3Rs principle is very important.

The Animal Welfare Committee is made up of representatives from the scientific community, animal protection activists, veterinary surgeons and other experts. Permits to conduct studies are issued by the Cantonal Veterinary Office, often with restrictions. At the end of the year and after the permit to conduct the experiment has expired, the applicant is required to report how many animals were used and what results were achieved by that date or how much distress was caused to the animals during the test. These figures are published every year by the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO).

Only specially trained persons are authorised to conduct animal experiments. This is stipulated in animal welfare legislation.

The Cantonal Veterinary Office is given the task of monitoring whether the animals are kept, and the experiments conducted, in accordance with the legislation. Each year, the cantonal authority audits the conduct of at least one-fifth of the currently authorised animal experiments. Among other things, this includes a review of the documentation. This is done to check whether the permits, including any restrictions, are complied with; those responsible have the required level of qualification, and the animals are kept in accordance with the legislation. The animal welfare committees assist the authority with the conduct of these audits.