In the debate about animal protection in Berlin’s growing research facilities, the CDU is following up – and would like to know from Science Senator Ulrike Gote (Greens) why so many laboratory experiments are not approved within the statutory approval period.
In the science committee this Monday, CDU university expert Adrian Grasse wants to ask the senator why the responsible state office for health and social affairs (Lageso) did not process 25 of the 136 applications submitted for animal experiments in 2021 within the statutory period of a maximum of 55 days.
“It’s only recently that cancer researchers have publicly emphasized the importance of animal testing,” Grasse said. “We still need these laboratory tests, the Senate harms Berlin science if it lets it slide.” Physicians, chemists and biologists in numerous institutions, including the Charité and the Robert Koch Institute, should be able to rely on the fact that they can start properly planned laboratory tests after the maximum test period of two months.
According to Lageso, 149 of the 231 applications in 2019 and 65 of the 174 applications in the following year were not decided on time. At the request of the CDU, Consumer Protection State Secretary Markus Kamrad (Greens) explained two weeks ago that the “exact reasons” for this were not known, but that Lageso, which was short on staff, was suffering from “additional workload” due to the many specialist laws.
Most recently, the Animal Welfare Association Lawsuit Act was added in 2020, according to which associations can sue on behalf of animals and request extensive information from the laboratories. The Senate had recognized seven animal protection organizations, including “Peta”. In 2021, four districts wanted to legally defend themselves against the Association Actions Act and thus the influence of animal rights activists in everyday administration. In his last days in office, the then Justice Senator Dirk Behrendt (Greens) took over the district complaints procedure before the Higher Administrative Court and had it discontinued. The Union checks whether this operation was permissible.
The number of experiments with animals tends to decrease, although Berlin is growing as a research location. While 219 animal experiment projects were carried out in 2018, two years later there were 193 and in 2021 just 113. The declared goal of all research institutions is to use other methods whenever possible.
The processes in Lageso were occasionally delayed because of “inadequate test applications to the Animal Experimentation Commission,” State Secretary Kamrad wrote. Overall, however, the number of experiments that are ultimately not approved is small: As of 2018, a low double-digit number of applications for laboratory tests had been rejected every year, in 2021 the Lageso did not approve only eight experiments. The researchers therefore prepare their test series largely flawlessly.
The Lageso submits applications for corresponding experiments to the aforementioned animal experimentation commission. The former Justice Senator Behrendt was also responsible for this body. Researchers and animal rights activists were equally on the commission in 2020, but Senator Behrendt wanted to place more animal rights activists there. The work of the commission was suspended for weeks, which also blocked a Covid 19 experiment, the heads of the Charité and Robert Koch Institute complained to the Senate at the time. Now there are two commissions, which are dominated by scientists.