Five years of difficult experiences with the Act of the protection of animals used for scientific or educational purposes dated of January 15, 2015

Małgorzata Gajewska, Joanna Gromadzka-Ostrowska, Jan Konopacki, Krzysztof Turlejski, Cezary W. Watała, Krzysztof Wąsowicz, Anna Wesołowska, Marek Wieczorek, Piotr Wlaź, Romuald Zabielski


Five years ago, the Act on the protection of animals used for scientific or educational purposes entered into force. It is the implementation of Directive 2010/63/ EU into the Polish legal system. During the work on the Directive, most scientists were convinced that the previous Act on animal experiments of 2005 was in line with the new EU law and only minor modifications would be necessary. Legislators, however, decided to create a completely new legal act. Already at the time of the Act's creation, the scientific community made many critical comments regarding the law. Significant discrepancies between the Directive and the proposed provisions of the Act were far more stringent, and in many places with imprecise provisions which could have resulted in difficulties in conducting research using animals. Unfortunately, most of the postulates of the scientific community were not considered at that time. What does the Act look like 5 years after its adoption? Instead of a transparent and balanced law modeled on the EU Directive, which provides real protection for experimental animals, while safeguarding the intellectual rights of animal testing units, a patch of underdeveloped, sometimes mutually exclusive provisions has been issued. Instead of raising the welfare of the animals used for research to a higher level, it significantly increased the costs of operating research units and increased bureaucracy. Instead of rationalizing the system of issuing consents for research, it has been weakened and entangled in administrative and legal disputes without the provision of basic administrative facilities. Instead of increasing the international mobility of scientists and technicians working with experimental animals, the implementation of the law created a training “system” that is not recognized in any other EU country. In the light of the 5-year experience of the scientific community and the expert part of the composition of local ethics committees, we postulate to introduce a number of significant changes to the act so that its amended version actually ensures animal protection, respect for researchers and returns to the current of European legislation.


laboratory animals regulations; implementation of EU Directive; local ethics committy function

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