Most of the animals used in experiments carried out at the Max Planck Institutes are bred by the Institutes themselves. The rest come from other research institutes or from specialised breeders who are monitored by the relevant authorities. The keeping of animals in the Max Planck Society’s animal facilities is based on the very latest scientific knowledge in the field of laboratory animal science. Highly trained and experienced animal keepers, together with veterinarians and biologists, ensure that the animals are held in conditions that comply with animal welfare regulations and meet the varying needs of the different animal species. The accommodation provided for the animals reflects their species-specific requirements. For example, mice and rats are held in family or sibling groups insofar as there are no medical or experimental reasons opposing this. Cages provide opportunities for withdrawal and activity; particular attention is paid to hygiene as the basic way of ensuring that the animals remain healthy.
Meticulous animal keeping ultimately serves the interests of science: useful scientific results can only be obtained from animal experiments that are carried out with healthy animals kept in stress-free and species-appropriate conditions.
The breeding and keeping of the animals as well as the experiments are monitored by the animal welfare officers of the Max Planck Institutes, and by the relevant authorities. To ensure that the animals suffer as little stress as possible, the scientists plan the experiments in cooperation with their institutes’ animal laboratory manager and animal welfare officer.