Animal experiments

The Swedish legislation on animal experiments is stricter than the EU directive requires, and includes a wider definition of animal experiments as well as mandatory ethical review of all experiments.


Animal experiments are regulated through the Animal Protection Act and the Animal Protection Ordinance as well as more detailed regulations issued by the Board of Agriculture. 

The Swedish ethics committees

In Sweden each planned animal experiment must be submitted to one of the six regional animal experimental ethics committees for a review. Experiments on animals are illegal unless the project has been approved by an ethics committee.

In accordance with the Swedish freedom of information legislation, the applications are available for anyone who is interested in seeing them. The information within the application includes a description of the planned experiment, the purpose of the project, the number and species of animals to be used, the name of the responsible researcher and where the animals are kept. A summary of approved projects can be found at  Projects can be approved for a maximum time of 5 years.

Number of animals used

The Swedish definition of laboratory animal differs from the definition in EU legislation and covers many more uses of animals, including animals killed for use of their tissue, organs or cells, as well as behavioral experiments, feeding experiments etc.

In the Swedish Animal Welfare Act,  laboratory animals are defined as animals used in animal experiments and animals that are bred, kept, or supplied for animal experiments.

Animal experiment is defined as the use of animals for:
1. scientific research
2. diagnosis of disease
3. development and manufacture of pharmaceutical or chemical products
4. teaching purposes, if the use means that the animal is killed, subjected to surgical operation, injection, or blood-letting, or if the animal is caused or risks being caused suffering, and
5. other similar purposes.

The definition of animal experiments also includes production of genetically modified animals

Since 2003, sample-based fishery surveys (test fishing to estimate stock densities of different speices) are included in the Swedish definition of animal experiments.

More information

The  National Board of Agriculture is the government agency responsible for ensuring animal welfare in Sweden.

The Swedish Research Council is funding 3R:s research projects.

Senast uppdaterad: 1 juni 2022