Animal welfare and care
Animal welfare and good research go hand in hand - all researchers and animal husbandry staff at MPI-IE are committed to the well-being of the animals and animal welfare laws.
The Institute pays attention to high quality standards in its animal experimentation projects, but also in the husbandry of the animals. Good animal husbandry is a basic prerequisite for excellent science and reproducible research results. If the animals suffer unnecessarily or are stressed and are used in experiments under such conditions, this can falsify the results. Thus, an experienced and specialised team of veterinarians (animal facility management), animal welfare officers and animal caretakers support our researchers. The close cooperation between all those involved not only enables the best conditions for animal husbandry and research, but also minimises the stress for the animals.
Mice with a red house and bedding
Mice are very sociable animals, which is why they are usually kept in small groups.
Housing system in the animal rooms
Zebrafish are housed in special aquaria that are constantly supplied with clean and filtered fresh water.
Sluice and autoclave unit at the entrance to the animal rooms in the mouse house ensure great hygienic safety.
Washing line for cage cleaning and bedding filling system
The technical room is designed in such a way that the animals are not disturbed and are supplied without interruption
Animal facility management and animal caretakers
The tasks in the animal facilities include organising the breeding and keeping of laboratory animals, ensuring the hygiene and health status of the animals, training animal caretakers and advising scientists on their animal experimentation projects.
The management of our animal facility (mouse and zebrafish) is in the hands of experienced veterinarians who are specialists in laboratory animal science - a branch of science that includes physiology, pathology, microbiology, hygiene, behaviour, animal welfare, animal ethics, genetics, transgenesis, anaesthesiology, surgery and more. Among other things, they ensure that the housing conditions are appropriate for the species, they monitor the health status of the animals and also pay attention to the training and further education of the animal caretakers.
In addition to daily checks on the condition and health of the animals, the most important tasks of our animal caretakers include providing water and food for a balanced and species-appropriate diet as well as cleaning and disinfecting the cages. In addition, the employees of our animal facility take on numerous supporting tasks for research. These include the targeted mating of animals as well as the supervision and documentation of breeding. For the latter, we use a specially developed software programme that enables all users as well as the Institute's animal welfare officers to monitor all animals and processes. This creates important transparency for all involved. The topic of "animal welfare" is an important part of the training of all animal caretakers, as they consistently ensure that all prerequisites for the welfare of the animals are met.
Animal Welfare Officers
Animal welfare officers work at the MPI-IE whoare veterinarians specialised in laboratory animal science and animal welfare and are not subject to directives in their work. They are obliged to pay particular attention to the protection of animals and to compliance with legal requirements. They provide advice on the keeping of laboratory animals and on the planning and conduct of experiments. Already in the planning phase, they critically examine the entire experimental project. They actively advocate the implementation of the 3Rs principle and advise all scientists who want to conduct animal experiments with regard to the chosen animal experimental method, its implementation and the monitoring of the animals, as well as possible alternatives that have less impact on the animals during the experiments.
The animal welfare officers comment on each application for approval of an animal experiment.This statement is submitted to the competent authority with the application and supports the authority together with the commission according to §15 Animal Welfare Act in the decision on the animal experiment application. After approval, the animal welfare officers also accompany the performance and documentation of the experiments. They also advise the animal facility management and the animal caretakers on all questions relevant to animal welfare. Animal welfare officers thus contribute to the optimisation of housing and experimental conditions in terms of animal welfare and act as an important interface to the competent authorities.
Animal Welfare Committee
Like every institution where animal experiments are carried out, the MPI-IE also has an Animal Welfare Committee in accordance with §6 of the German Animal Welfare Ordninance (TierSchVersV) This committee works together across departments to further improve animal welfare at the institute. The welfare of animals is further promoted by this committee through the critical review of internal work processes, the exchange of experience regarding animal husbandry and animal experiments and through joint resolutions and recommendations.