Animals in research and education at SLU

Last changed: 13 June 2019

What legal regulations are there for using animals for scientific purposes ex in Sweden? Anyone who performs animal experiments must be authorized by the Swedish Board of Agriculture (SJV). The premises where the animals are kept must be approved for the purpose by SJV and there should be a responsible director and an advisory veterinarian attached to the activity.

All use of living animals for scientific or educational purposes must be preceded by an animal testing ethics review and all staff working with the animals must have proper training. Statistics must be kept over the animals involved in research or education. There are also detailed regulations that can be found on the homepage of the Swedish Board of Agriculture.

Coordinator at SLU

SLU must have a coordinator for matters concerning research animals. The coordinator is responsible for training all those involved with animals used for research or teaching at SLU in laboratory animal science for researchers. The coordinator provides information and advice regarding questions about research animals, inspecting permits, coordinating supervision and collation of statistics.

Coordinator is PhD MSc Katarina Cvek at the department of Clinical Sciences. 

The Board for Animals in Research and Teaching (FDN)

The Board for Animals in Research and Teaching (FDN) is to function as SLU's animal welfare body and therefore work actively to prioritise animal welfare within the organisation. The Board for Animals in Research and Teaching must follow the Swedish Board of Agriculture's regulations (SJVFS 2015:24 Article L 150). This includes providing advice to staff regarding animal welfare, as well as establishing and inspecting internal routine descriptions for the supervision, reporting and monitoring of the animals' welfare and the comprehensive work with animal welfare at the organisation. You can read more about the Board for Animals in Research and Teaching.


Definition of research animals

The EU and the Council of Europe define research animals as those that only experience some form of suffering during their use. In Sweden, our definition of research animals differs from its European equivalent – the purpose determines whether an animal is a research animal.

This means that all animals used for scientific research, teaching, diagnosing illnesses, manufacture of pharmaceuticals or chemical products, or other similar purposes are classed as research animals and are covered by animal welfare legislation, even if they are not subjected to painful procedures.

Consequently: all animals included in SLU research activities are classified as research animals, regardless of whether they are privately owned animals, wild animals or animals at the various SLU research facilities.

What are the research animals used for at SLU?

Most animals used for scientific purposes at other universities serve as model animals for humans and human diseases. At SLU on the other hand, research involving animals is focused on getting results that will benefit the animals themselves. It is the welfare of the animals that is the common focus for SLU: s research on disease control, health, behaviour, breeding and husbandry.

Policy on the use of animals in research and education at SLU

All staff involved in planning research on animals or who work with animals in teaching must read and follow the SLU policy on the use of animals in research and education.

Use of animals in education

The university's areas of responsibility include animal husbandry, health and welfare of animals being used by humans. SLU offers professional education and training for prospective veterinarians, animal agronomists, veterinary nurses, equine scientists and also general higher education courses for future work with animals.

In the professional programmes at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, practical animal husbandry is very important to the acquisition of knowledge and skills.

Therefore, husbandry and skills training are best carried out by the student conducting the components themselves under supervision, and in the manner it is to be conducted in practice. The purpose of the training, focusing on animal welfare, is to promote sustainable use of animals, good production, health and function.

Students are to be given the opportunity to read the SLU policy for the use of animals in teaching  if they plan to participate in a degree programme where handling of animals and animal materials is included.

All degree programmes and free-standing courses must contain a summary of the elements where live animals, animal corpses or animal tissue are included, which prospective students can obtain before they apply for a place.


Contact the coordinator if you have any questions or thoughts on animal use for scientific or educational purposes.


Coordinator for matters concerning research animals
Katarina Cvek
Department of Clinical Sciences

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