Animal testing

Animal testing is important in basic research. It provides essential insights that may lead to the development of new therapies in the long term. When planning experiments, researchers agree to abide by the 3R principles (“replace, reduce, refine”).

​Animal research sheds light on basic biological processes, thus providing an indispensable basis for the development of new treatments. SNSF-funded research projects are at the cutting edge of their field in terms of both scientific knowledge and technology. Projects that are methodologically obsolete or based on scientifically irrelevant animal models are not supported. To enable meaningful conclusions, the animals should be restricted in their natural behaviour as little as possible.

In keeping with these high standards for research projects, the SNSF also adheres to the 3R principles. According to these principles, wherever possible researchers should pursue alternative options to animal testing (“replace”), use as few animals as possible (“reduce”) and minimise the distress that they suffer (“refine”).

Stringent Swiss standards

Animal protection laws in Switzerland are very strict compared with other countries. All animal testing must be approved by a cantonal animal testing commission. These commissions have a legislative mandate to weigh the probable suffering of the animals against the possible benefits to humans of the knowledge gained from the animal testing. The SNSF only funds experiments approved by the animal testing commissions.

For animal testing conducted abroad, the SNSF also requires appropriate, country-specific approval that is comparable to Swiss standards. At the same time, the SNSF wishes to ensure that animal testing can continue in Switzerland and not be outsourced to research institutions in other countries.


Communication division