Animal experiments are essential to the advancement of biological and medical research as the knowledge gained from this kind of testing facilitates the development of new drugs and therapies. This gives rise to a classic dilemma, as acquiring knowledge for human good places a burden on animals.
Fraunhofer IZI is committed to developing novel therapies, drugs and diagnostic agents for humans and animals, and draws on animal experiments to help achieve this goal.
It goes without saying that the employees at Fraunhofer IZI would never choose to conduct experiments on animals without good reason.
Alternatives to animal testing are favored wherever possible. However, especially when it comes to investigations into complicated mechanisms in the biological cycle of an organism, hardly any alternative methods exist at present. In particular, the complex interactions found in the immune system are not yet able to be recreated outside the living organism. Animal experiments are still needed here in order to gain medical insights, drive medical advancement, develop new therapies, improve diagnostic procedures and minimize the risk to humans. In line with the latest scientific knowledge, it is therefore not yet possible to dispense with animal experiments in these cases. This is also clearly stated in the German Federal Government’s animal welfare report (“In line with the latest scientific knowledge, animal experiments cannot be completely dispensed with, despite the increased use of alternative methods”). In order to keep the number of experiments as low as possible, every test is preceded by a huge amount of research into available literature and databases, which is intended to clarify whether experiments are already under way at other facilities and can therefore be avoided.
Animal testing is subject to strict approval and control procedures. Every research project involving animal experiments is firstly reviewed internally and then has to be approved by the authorities. An ethics committee also comprising representatives from animal welfare associations reviews the necessity of such experiments and weighs up the medical benefit for humans and animals.
The employees at Fraunhofer IZI work in strict adherence with the German Animal Welfare Act. The Fraunhofer IZI's animal welfare officers are responsible for observing the applicable acts and laws.
All Fraunhofer IZI projects involving animal experiments are conducted in the interests of human and animal welfare and aim to improve medical and veterinary medical care. Animal experiments aimed at developing cosmetics, tobacco, detergents and weapons are prohibited by law and are categorically rejected by Fraunhofer IZI.