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German government remains without a plan

In the United Kingdom, a detailed plan for reducing animal experimentation has been announced for this summer. Concrete measures to promote non-animal testing methods through doubling of financial support have also been disclosed. The German organization Doctors Against Animal Experiments (DAAE) welcomes these steps, which will not only reduce the suffering of so-called experimental animals but could also position the United Kingdom as one of the leading countries in innovative and human-oriented research. The German government continues to neglect the issue of animal research and has yet to fulfill the reduction strategy agreed upon in the coalition agreement. According to DAAE, this is causing German research, which still relies on outdated and misleading animal experiments, to increasingly fall behind internationally.

On February 19th 2024, two petitions regarding animal experiments were debated in the British Parliament. These petitions, supported by over 31,000 and 109,000 signatories respectively, aimed to oppose the use of dogs in animal experiments and called for the general abolition of animal testing. During the debate, the possibilities and advantages of non-animal methods were extensively discussed, highlighting that such methods are already better suited to predict the effects of substances on humans (1).

The Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, Andrew Griffith, announced that the British government will present a detailed plan for reducing animal experiments in the summer of 2024. This plan should accelerate the development, validation, and implementation of non-animal methods. Additionally, Griffith revealed that funding for so-called 3R methods, which aim to replace, reduce, and refine animal testing, will be doubled from £10 million to £20 million in the financial year 2024/25. Furthermore, there will be an examination of making the application process for animal research more challenging by increasing associated costs and shortening the duration of licenses, to directly promote the preference for non-animal methods. Finally, the British public will be surveyed again for their opinion on the topic of animal experiments. The results of this survey are expected in the autumn of 2024 (2).

"Even though the announced plan is based on the 3R principle - which does not question animal experimentation as a method and only aims for 'improvements' to the existing system - and thus will be more of a transition plan than an exit plan, we explicitly welcome this concrete step towards an animal-free science", comments Dr. Johanna Walter, scientific officer at DAAE.

In autumn 2023, it was announced that the German government has allocated two million euros over two years for the development of a reduction strategy. “While the UK is now speeding ahead towards an innovative and ethical science without animal testing, Germany must now catch up to avoid being hopelessly left behind", criticized Walter.

German scientists are already benefiting from the better funding for animal-free methods in the UK. Recently, a research group from the University Medical Center Freiburg received a grant of 1 million pounds from the British National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3R) for the development of an animal-free method for the safety assessment of cancer therapies (3).


  1. E-petition debate relating to animal testing and non-animal research methods. UK Parliament, 19.02.2024
  2. UK government makes five announcements on animal testing in Westminster Hall debate. Animal Free Research UK, 22.02.2024
  3. British research organization supports non-animal cancer research in Freiburg. Doctors Against Animal Research, 22.02.2024