Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research - W. G. Kerckhoff Institute
Declaration of principle on animal research
In its declaration of principle on the subject of animal research, the Max Planck Society emphasises the indispensability of animal research for biomedical research, but also acknowledges the special responsibility of each individual scientist for the animals used in research and the ethical issues associated with experiments carried out on sentient beings. The gain in insight expected from an experiment must be weighed against the harm inflicted on animals – an evaluation for which there are no universally accepted standards.
In its White Paper, the Max Planck Society has adopted a series of measures designed to achieve the best possible compromise between the obligation to protect the animals used for research and the need to perform research with sentient beings in order to gain insights into the processes supporting the life of organisms. These measures include:
strengthening the culture of care for the animals; this is to be achieved through improved coordination of animal welfare within the MPG, while at the same time maintaining the highest quality of science
Further refinement and reduction of use animals in research - scientific insights should be used to reduce the number of experiments and minimize the potential harm inflicted on the animals
transparent presentation of animal research for the general public
research aimed at improving the implementation of the 3 R principle
research on the living conditions of research animals, their social behaviour, perception of pain, consciousness and their right for life
training of all employees working with animals in animal ethics
Keeping an eye on animal welfare. Every day, no matter how big or small the respective laboratory animals are. The veterinary profession is as varied as the species we deal with.
For me, training as an animal keeper, specialising in research and clinic, is the best combination of working with the animals and at the same time protecting and supporting them in their basic needs as best as possible. I learn to treat the laboratory animals with respect and to create a pleasant living environment for them.
I appreciate the multifaceted and varied work at the animal house. The care and husbandry is constantly evolving for the benefit of the animals. Looking behind the scenes of a research institute gives me a better understanding of why basic research with animals is so important.
As a career changer, I learned to appreciate the profession of an animal keeper in research so much that I decided to further qualify as an animal keeper specialising in research and clinic. Laboratory animals have already provided us with many insights and thus also therapies/medicines. To ensure that good quality results can continue to be achieved, it is a personal concern of mine to give the animals a good life.
Every day, our work begins with an inspection. We check every single cage and see how each animal is doing. This duty is even required of us by the Animal Welfare Act. The task requires a high level of concentration.
I have been working here as an animal keeper for 24 years. I see myself as a representative of the animals and would also like to show how great this job is. You have a lot of responsibility, because it's about the animals' welfare. Since they can't speak, as a trained animal keeper I recognise what they need and make sure they are well every day.