White Paper on Animal Research

In its White Paper “Position statement concerning the use of animals in experiments for basic research”, the Max Planck Society emphasizes that animal experiments are still indispensable for biomedical research. In it, the Society also acknowledges the special responsibility of the individual scientist for the laboratory animals and the ethical problems associated with studies involving living beings. According to the declaration, the expected gain in knowledge from an experiment must be weighed against the harm to the laboratory animal - an assessment for which there are no universally accepted standards.

In its White Paper, the Max Planck Society has adopted a series of measures designed to achieve the best possible compromise between the obligation to protect the animals used for research and the need to perform research with sentient beings in order to gain insights into the processes supporting the life of organisms.

These include:

  • strengthening the culture of care for the animals; this is to be achieved through improved coordination of animal welfare within the MPG, while at the same time maintaining the highest quality of science
  • transparent presentation of animal research for the general public
  • research aimed at improving the implementation of the 3 R principle
  • research on the living conditions of research animals, their social behaviour, perception of pain, consciousness and their right for life
  • training of all employees working with animals in animal ethics


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