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Critical evaluation of the use of dogs in biomedical research and testing in Europe† - t4 Report

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Nina Hasiwa1, Jarrod Bailey2, Peter Clausing3, Mardas Daneshian1, Marianne Eileraas4,
Sándor Farkas5, István Gyertyán5, Robert Hubrecht6, Werner Kobel7, Goran Krummenacher8, Marcel Leist1,9, Hannes Lohi10, Ádám Miklósi2, Frauke Ohl12, Klaus Olejniczak13, Georg Schmitt14, Patrick Sinnett-Smith15, David Smith16, Kristina Wagner17, James D. Yager18, Joanne Zurlo18, and Thomas Hartung 1,18

1 CAAT-Europe (Centre for Alternatives to Animal Testing, Europe), University of Konstanz, Germany;
2 FRAME (Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical experiments) & BUAV (British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection), UK;
3 AAAlAC International (Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International); 4 RTC (Research Toxicology Centre), Rome, Italy;
5 Gedeon Richter Ltd, Budapest, Hungary;
6 UFAW (Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, UK;
7 ToxAdvice GmbH, Reinach BL, Switzerland;
8 Doerenkamp-Zbinden Foundation, Switzerland;
9 In vitro toxicology and biomedicine, University of Konstanz;
10 University of Helsinki, Finland;
11 Eötvös University, Budapest, Hungary;
12 University Utrecht, Netherlands;
13 Regulatory Toxicology Consultant, Berlin, Germany;
14 F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, Basel, Switzerland;
15 Pfizer Worldwide R&D, United Kingdom;
16 EFPIA (European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations), Brussels, Belgium;
17 German Animal Welfare Federation, Munich, Germany;
18 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, CAAT-US, Baltimore, USA


Dogs are sometimes referred to as “man’s best friend” and with the increase in urbanization and lifestyle changes, dogs are seen by their owners as family members. Society expresses specific concerns about the experimental use of dogs, as they are sometimes perceived to have a special status for humans. This may appear somewhat conflicting with the idea that the intrinsic value of all animals is the same, and that also several other animal species are used in biomedical research and toxicology. This aspect and many others are discussed in an introductory chapter dealing with ethical considerations on the use of dogs as laboratory animals. The report gives an overview on the use of dogs in biomedical research, safety assessment and the drug developmental process and reflects the discussion on the use of dogs as second (non-rodent)species in toxicity testing. Approximately 20,000 dogs are used in scientific procedures in Europe every year, and their distinct genetic, physiological and behavioral characteristics may support their use as models for e.g. behavioral analysis and genetic research. Advances in the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of experiments using dogs) are described, potential opportunities are discussed and recommendations for further progress in this area are made.
*a report of t4 – the transatlantic think tank for toxicology, a collaboration of the toxicolgically oriented chairs in Baltimore, Konstanz and Utrecht sponsored by the Doerenkamp-Zbinden Foundation
† This workshop was held in memory of Hildegard Doerenkamp (1920 – 2011), the philanthropic cofounder of the Doerenkamp-Zbinden Foundation.

ALTEX 28(4), 326-340
DOI: 10.14573/altex.2011.4.326

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