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Animal welfare

Neuroscience deals with the most complex organ produced by nature. In many cases animal experiments are crucial for understanding it in health and disease, as we are far from modelling the complexity of the brain in the test tube, in cell culture, or in the computer.

Research on higher brain function sometimes requires use of highly developed animals, such as e.g. rhesus monkeys. With respect to the dignity of human beings, and especially the dignity of an impaired person, whose brain disease is wearing down their abilities to move, to perceive, to use language, memory, and sometimes even their identity, we cannot close our eyes to this necessity. In facing this necessity, neuroscientists act in a responsible manner and highly respect the animals used. They stringently follow an ethical credo, which ranks (diseased) humans above animals, however carefully balancing the interests of diseased humans and the welfare of an animal, always striving to minimize the suffering of animals and to avoid them whenever possible. Tools to control this balance are provided by the internationally exemplary German animal welfare law.

The GNS assumes the task to support neuroscientists under attack by animal rights groups, and to raise public awareness for their research. It advocates responsible use of laboratory animals at national and European levels and is in contact with the European Parliament in this regard.

Awareness initiative for science "Tierversuche verstehen"
Open letter against the newspaper advertisement of the association "Tierversuchsgegener" April 2014
Letter to the President of the European Parliament
DFG brochure "Aninal Experimentation in Research"
Joint statement by the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) and the American Society for Neuroscience (SfN) on the importance of non-human primates for biomedical research