Animal Welfare and Animal Experiments

Animal Welfare Officers and Institute Veterinarian.

The research work at the FBN aims to derive solutions for sustainable and animal-friendly farm animal husbandry through knowledge of biological functions as well as physiological and ethological needs and abilities of animals. Within the framework of this research, animal experiments are one way of obtaining reliable results and knowledge and testing effects directly in the target animal species.

The necessary animal experiments at the FBN are always planned, assessed and carried out according to the 3R principle (Replace-Reduce-Refine). In consultation with the animal welfare officers, animal-free alternative methods that could replace an animal experiment are already sought during the planning stage. If such a method is not available, an experimental design is developed in close cooperation with our institute-internal service group Statistical Consulting, which enables reliable results with the lowest possible number of animals.

In order to implement the refinement, all planned interventions as well as the husbandry conditions are continuously reviewed to ensure that possible pain, damage or suffering of the animals is minimised to the absolutely necessary extent. In doing so, we can draw on the great expertise of the staff in the focus topic Individualising Animal Husbandry.

A constant review of these 3Rs regulations takes place in the regular meetings of the Animal Welfare Committee. The main tasks of this committee are to constantly monitor the welfare of the animals, to support the Animal Welfare Officers in their function, to develop processes and workflows that improve the welfare of the animals and much more.

In addition, the animal welfare officers also takes over the administrative tasks in the context of animal experiments and laboratory animal husbandry. This includes the assessment of animal experiment applications, their submission to the authority (State Office for Agriculture, Food Safety and Fisheries MV), including the necessary communication, as well as the support of the responsible veterinary and food monitoring office (district of Rostock).

To carry out the necessary investigations with our cattle, pigs, chickens, goats, mice and fish, the staff have modern Experimental Animal Facilities at their disposal. These are equipped with, among other things, a bioacoustic room for pigs, a behavioural arena for cattle and pigs and respiration chambers.


Keeping animals in a research facility presents a special challenge. For this purpose, all FBN animal husbandry facilities have the corresponding permit in accordance with §11 TSchG.
Anyone who works with animals, especially in the context of animal experiments, must be able to demonstrate special expertise in handling these animals. This is not only due to the legal requirements, but is a matter of course for the staff of the FBN. For this reason, we conduct regular further training in the field of laboratory animal science together with partners (State Veterinary Chamber of MV, Berlin Compact Courses, etc.). Such training takes place as half-day events or as a weekly course in the form of an advanced course in laboratory animal science for people who want to plan and conduct animal experiments.

The FBN's Animal Welfare Officer Dr. Olaf Bellmann has the special qualification as specialists veterinarians for laboratory animal science and a corresponding authorisation for further training for this qualification, which means that the FBN is recognised as a centre for further training in laboratory animal science. In addition to the function of the animal welfare officer Dr. Olaf Bellmann, as the institute veterinarian he also bears overall responsibility for the health and welfare of all animals kept at the institute. This includes the regular evaluation of husbandry conditions, the creation, implementation and monitoring of animal health and hygiene plans, as well as regular training of all employees. He is supported by the two veterinarians Dr. Andreas Vernunft and Volker Röttgen.