• The German animal welfare act
    Animal welfare act
    In Germany animals have rights, too. Research with animals is closely monitored.
  • The review process for animal research
    The review process
    Animal research can be carried out only after an application has passed a multiple-stage review...
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The Review Process for Research Using Animals

Every study involving animal experiments is reviewed by at least three independent authorities for the significance and quality of the results. Only if two of these evaluations have a positive conclusion can the study be carried out.In Germany, basic neurobiological research is primarily carried out at universities and non-university research institutions such as the Max Planck Institutes. Every scientific project is evaluated for its originality and the quality of its research. For this purpose the Max Planck Society has appointed an advisory committee, an external audit by international reviewers, which convenes every two years. The projects financially supported by the German research foundation or private foundations must be reviewed by independent experts. These are generally anonymous scientists from other, usually foreign institutions.  

In the case of experiments using animals, the law also stipulates that the study must also be reviewed by a special commission (§15 Animal Welfare Act). This commission counsels the local authorities issuing the permit on the ethical justifiability.  

After the conclusion of the study the researchers publish their data in journals to make them available worldwide. This publication is the most important part of the final evaluation of a study and compulsory for research projects that are funded with public monies (see Rules of Good Scientific Practice, pdf). In this step, the study undergoes a final, demanding evaluation in the so-called peer review process. Several independent reviewers scrutinize the approach and significance of the project and judge the credibility of the results and their interpretation.