As prosecutors evaluate complaints from animal rights groups, labs try to reduce surplus
In many countries animal rights groups decry the many thousands, even millions, of animals used in medical experiments. In Germany, activists have adopted a new tack: focusing on the even larger number of animals that never make it into an experiment—perhaps because they don’t meet the criteria for a study or were created in the course of breeding a new research strain—and are killed to save space and money.
Depending on your views on animal research and your sympathies for the challenges of animal breeding, housing and handling, this move in Germany might be viewed as something for other jurisdictions to adopt, or a scary impediment to work in this area. It does reflect evolving community views with regards to transparency and accountability in animal-based work.
One complaint, involving 222 small fish killed by a company because it allegedly had no room for them, has already been dismissed. But spokespeople for the prosecutor’s offices in Frankfurt, Giessen, Marburg, and Darmstadt confirmed to Science that investigations into other allegations continue, with the Frankfurt general state prosecutor’s office coordinating the matter.