University of Tübingen: University of Tübingen is committed to research on crows

The management of the University of Tübingen expressly supports the neurobiological research of Professor Andreas Nieder. “The experiments that were criticized were subjected to intensive preliminary tests, carefully ethical considerations and accompanied by animal welfare officers. The experiments are officially approved according to the strict standards of the Animal Welfare Act. They are carried out responsibly under veterinary supervision, ”says Rector Professor Bernd Engler.

The Department of Animal Physiology at the university has been working with crows in the field of brain research for more than ten years. As a neurobiologist, Professor Nieder researches the way nerve cells work in the brain with the aim of finding out how cognitive functions arise. His work on crows awareness was named one of the 2020 American Association for the Advancement of Science as one of the Research Breakthroughs of the Year.

In terms of method, invasive interventions are essential for this. Their ethical justifiability and stress intensity are checked intensively in the approval process with the help of external expertise. This also applies to the origin of the animals used in the experiment. Only breeding animals are used as a rule. If wild animals are used, this standard deviation must be approved. The use of such animals is ethically justifiable if the animal cannot be released into the wild. This was the case with the crows that Professor Nieder received from the Naturschutzbund Deutschland. The use of such animals that can no longer be released into the wild has been approved by the competent authority. The execution of the experiment is closely monitored internally and by the authorities.

Rector Professor Bernd Engler: “The university stands by the necessity of animal experiments and is aware of the responsibility that comes with dealing with animals. We consider basic research such as brain research in Tübingen to be essential. In parallel to the experiments with animals that it considers necessary, the university is of course working intensively on reducing animal experiments and – wherever possible – gradually replacing them with alternative methods and improving test procedures in such a way that the animals are exposed to less stress. “

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