The Institute of Animal Welfare and Behavior at the Department of Veterinary Medicine was established in 2014. Researchers at the institute deal with scientific issues related to animal welfare and refinement, e.g., within a subproject of the BB3R graduate program.
Animal welfare as a subject combines the areas of veterinary medicine, ethics, and law. Ethology (the study of animal behavior) is of key importance for the practical veterinary examination and the basis of behavior therapy. Laboratory animal science concentrates on the characteristics of animal types that are most commonly used in laboratory experiments.
The institute performs the function of animal welfare officer at Freie Universität. Anyone at Freie Universität who wishes to do animal testing or to make use of vertebrate animals for any scientific purposes, is required to get information about the applicable local laws before starting the work or acquiring the animals. The animal welfare officers at the Institute for Animal Welfare and Behavior support and advise researchers on the design, application, implementation, and reporting on animal experiments. Optional courses are taught so that researchers can acquire the necessary expertise.