The 3Rs principle and the law: fundamentals and implementation
This project is examining how the law regulates animal experimentation and what can and should change in the future.
The internationally recognised 3Rs principle acknowledges that animals should not be subjected to unnecessary suffering. However, Swiss law goes even further by recognising animals as sentient beings with their own worth and protecting their dignity. Nevertheless, the law deals with animals in a very contradictory way, permitting extensive use of animals while protecting them from unnecessary suffering. This contradiction is particularly pronounced in animal experimentation.
Views on the relationship between humans and animals have changed considerably in recent decades. Society takes an increasingly critical view of animal experiments and ethical judgments vary. At the same time, political processes are slow, meaning that legislation is also failing to keep up with changing values and scientific progress. However, Swiss law cannot and should not close its eyes to these social developments and ethical discussions.
This project is examining how the law regulates animal experimentation and what can and should change in the future. Socio-political and ethical discussions will be taken into account, as will developments in other countries in Europe and beyond. In this context, there will also be a discussion of whether recognition of the intrinsic value of animals could lead to a rethink of the way animals and their bodies are used and what this would entail.
In addition, the research team will investigate the instruments that could be used to improve implementation of the 3Rs principle and take greater account of interest in animal welfare. The results of the project will feed into proposals for revising legislation so that it gives greater weight to the 3Rs principle and takes account of the shift in public and ethical perspectives.
Implementation of the 3Rs in Swiss law