In Switzerland, animal experiments may only be performed if no alternative methods are available. Equally strict rules apply to laboratory animal husbandry as to the training and continuing education of the researchers working with animals.
Animal experiments in 2018: fewer laboratory animals used
In 2018, the number of animals used for experiments in Switzerland was 586,643. This is 4.6% less than in 2017. Compared with 2009, the number of animals used has fallen by more than 16.9%.
In 2018, most of the animals (71.1%) were used in experiments that involved little if any stress (severity grades 0 and 1). Around 26.2% of the animals were exposed to a moderate degree of stress (severity grade 2) and 2.7% to severe stress (severity grade 3).
Switzerland possesses one of the most comprehensive legislations on animal welfare in the world. The area of animal research is regulated in a particularly strict manner: Each individual animal experiment applied for is examined by a cantonal committee on animal experimentation. Researchers must demonstrate that the benefits to society are greater than the distress suffered by the animals involved (harm-benefit analysis).
Thanks to the guiding principles of the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement), it has been possible to dramatically reduce the number of animal experiments conducted in recent years.
Last modification 03.09.2019