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In mid-October, our 3R-Workshop NRW “Ethical Considerations in Animal Research - A Practical Introduction” took place at Bonn’s Venusberg-Campus. Approximately 30 scientists traveled from all corners of the state North Rhine-Westphalia to participate in this one-day event to scrutinize the ethical aspect of (bio-)medical animal research and the role of the 3R principle in it.

In the morning session, Nadine Kollmeyer, research ethics advisor at the University of Bonn, and Dr. Vera Beckert, scientific coordinator for establishment of a new animal facility for wildling mice at the Life & Medical Sciences Institute (LIMES), provided fundamentals of ethical research with animals. After a brief history of research ethics, Nadine Kollmeyer covered the principles and relevance of research ethics in practice, regulatory and legal framework in the European Union in detail. Besides, responsibility of the researcher was addressed to elaborate on the mental health issues in the field like compassion fatigue. Dr. Vera Beckert concentrated on the ethical theories and animal research, changing perceptions of animals over centuries, contemporary ethical debates, ethical advocacy and the role of researchers.

Following the lunch buffet, the participants put the theory into practice by working on selected case studies with the experts and the representatives of the animal welfare office of the university. Divided into smaller work groups, they discussed and analyzed animal experimentation using near-real-life examples. This role-play provided participants with insight into the ethical evaluation of animal research.

As 3R-Competence Network NRW, we thank our experts and the Animal Welfare Office for making this workshop possible. Furthermore, we would like to thank to the participants for their interest, cooperation and engagement.