Animal Welfare

Animal Welfare and Permits for Experiments involving Animals

The University of Zurich understands the great responsibility that comes with any research involving laboratory animals. It regulates those responsibilities with strict policies based on both the Basel Declaration and the Three R principle of “Replace, Reduce, Refine.” The animal welfare officers at UZH advise and monitor the researchers. They uphold standards for exemplary animal care, proper staff training, careful planning of experiments, and mitigation of animal distress.

Application Procedure and Legal Framework

In Switzerland, all animal experiments require a permit. The Canton of Zurich has a commission on animal experimentation that closely reviews applications. Commission members include representatives of animal welfare organizations and an ethicist. The commission – representative of society as a whole – performs a careful evaluation of interests, including ethical aspects. The commission on animal experimentation also assesses compliance with the Three Rs (Replacement = Replace the animal experiment with a study that does not involve animals; Reduction = Reduce number of laboratory animals to the absolute minimum; Refinement = Improve procedures to minimize distress and enhance welfare). Alternative methods – insofar as they exist – are chosen consistently and without reservations. 

Only when the commission on animal experimentation is convinced of the benefits of a proposed study will it recommend that the cantonal veterinary office accept the application, see:

Information on animal experiments and on keeping laboratory animals published by the veterinary office (Veterinäramt) of the Canton of Zurich (in German)