Animal testing

Experiments with animals are indispensable in basic research. They provide insights that can lead to the development of new therapies. In this context, it is important to both limit the number of animals and minimise their suffering.

​The assessment of research projects by The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) is based on the 3R principle (replace, reduce, refine). Hence, the scientific evaluation criteria used by the SNSF are in line with the basic concepts of 3R: projects that are methodically inadequate or obsolete, scientifically irrelevant, or repeat past research work are not supported.

The SNSF and scientific animal testing – fact sheet (PDF, 58 KB)

According to the Swiss Animal Protection Act, all experiments with vertebrates, cephalopods and decapods need to be approved by the relevant canton. The SNSF transfers the awarded funds only after having received all necessary documentation concerning approval and registration. As approval for animal testing is only given for a limited period, the Administrative Offices check whether the necessary authorisations are valid for the next year before paying the annual instalment.

The SNSF deliberately does not weigh the ethical choices at hand: the cantonal animal testing commissions are composed of laypeople, researchers, animal protectionists and experts on the keeping of animals. They therefore represent the diverse values prevalent in society and have the competencies needed to make ethical choices to a greater extent than the SNSF Research Council, which consists solely of researchers.

SNSF-funded scientists doing research in Switzerland must comply with legal requirements and respect the ethical principles and guidelines established by the Ethics Committee for Animal Experimentation of the SAMS and SCNAT academies.

Ethics Committee for Animal Experimentation of the Academies



Communication division