Department Experimental Toxicology and ZEBET

The protection of laboratory animals according to the 3Rs principle has already been an integral part of the BfR's scientific work since the establishment of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) in 2002 and the creation of the Centre for Documentation and Evaluation of Alternatives to Animal Experiments (ZEBET).

The amendment of the Animal Welfare Act in 2013 entrusted the BfR with additional tasks in the field of laboratory animal protection. The increase in requirements led to the opening of the German Centre for the Protection of Laboratory Animals (Bf3R) at BfR in 2015, into which ZEBET was integrated.

The BfR performs the following tasks:

  1. Publication of the non-technical project summaries in accordance with § 8 (6) TierSchG and § 41 TierSchVersV;
  2. Advising the responsible authorities and animal welfare bodies in matters related to the acquisition, breeding, accommodation, care and use of animals in procedures in line with § 15a TierSchG and § 45 TierSchVersV;
  3. Advising the responsible authorities in matters related to alternatives to animal experiments in accordance with § 46 TierSchVersV;
  4. Cooperation with the responsible authorities of other member states and the European Commission on issues concerning the regulatory relevance and suitability of the alternative methods recommended for validation in line with § 16g (2) TierSchG.

To ensure that these tasks are carried out and improve its scientific tasks in political consulting, ZEBET develops and validates new alternative methods and assessment strategies in line with the 3R principle with the goal of replacing or at least reducing animal experiments not only in the authorisation process but also in basic research.

Within the scope of the 3R concept, refinement shall be promoted. Therefore, animal welfare and laboratory animal science are other areas of main interest within the department. In addition, the department is reporting about alternative methods to animal experiments in toxicology and basic research.

The department also represents Germany within the scope of international agreements and programmes on health topics and chemicals safety. Thus, the research field of the department covers a variety of different toxicodynamic and -kinetic aspects relevant for risk assessment.

Through the establishment of a joint professorship between the BfR and Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the 3R principle is spread within academia and is implemented in basic research. Moreover, research on alternative methods to animal experiments is intensified with focus on experimental toxicology.

The department "Experimental Toxicology and ZEBET" is subdivided into six units:

Head of Department

Prof. Dr. Gilbert Schönfelder


Visitors' address
Diedersdorfer Weg 1
D - 12277 Berlin

Postal address
Max-Dohrn-Str. 8-10
D - 10589 Berlin




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