The Ethics Committee

In France and Europe, society is asking more and more questions about animal welfare. This is a relevant awareness, but gives rise to speculation about some treatments for animals. Aware of this problem, Europe has put in place laws to regulate the use of animals in experimentation. These laws evolve regularly to protect animals.

The law regarding the use of animals for research is strict. Any experimentation involving animals is preceded by consideration of :

  • The absence of adequate alternative methods to achieve the same end.The usefulness of the planned experimentation compared to work carried out elsewhere.
  • The relevance of the methods chosen and the level of probability of achieving tangible results.
  • The relevance of the animal models envisaged and the scientific objectives pursued.
  • The importance of the harm to the animals in relation to the expected results.
  • The consideration of the biological and cognitive characteristics of the species concerned.
  • The choice of species, in the case of non-domesticated species, so that it does not threaten biodiversity.
  • Limiting the number of animals used to the minimum necessary.
  • The choice of living conditions, housing, care and use of animals, so that their physiological and behavioural needs are respected as much as possible.


These reflections are based on the "3 Rs"

  - Replacement/substitution: Is there an alternative to using an animal? Using computers, for example...

  - Reduction: if the use of animals is necessary, it should be possible to use a minimum of them, but be able to obtain an optimal result. Statistics can help to solve the problem.

  - Improvement: aims to reduce the constraints imposed on the animals under study. This skill is taught in regulatory training courses and is also the subject of additional specialised training.



In France, ethics committees were set up in the early 1990s, on the initiative of researchers and without any regulatory request at the time, to ensure the implementation of ethical practices as close as possible to animals.

Since 2013, French regulations (notably through articles R. 214 - 117 to 126 of the Rural and Maritime Fishing Code) require that an ethical assessment be carried out for any request for authorisation for a study project on animals and have placed ethics committees at the heart of this process. It is only when a favourable opinion is given by the ethics committee that a project can be authorised by the ministry responsible for research.

The role of the ethics committee is also to promote the ethical aspect of animal experimentation.

Moreover, the law has certain limits:

- Only vertebrates, mammalian foetuses in the third third of gestation and cephalopods are taken into account.
- More subjective factors, such as psychological factors, are neglected. (stress, isolation, etc.).
- Some experiments can do without ethical evaluation because the law is not strict enough.

As an animal welfare research institute, we wish to go further in the supervision of research projects using animals. That is why, since 2012, we have had our own ethics committee which is directly attached to the Ministry of Research.


As an animal welfare research institute, we wish to go further in the supervision of research projects using animals. That is why, since 2012, we have had our own ethics committee which is directly attached to the Ministry of Research.

The committee is responsible for evaluating projects that concern only IRSEA, although it has already given its opinion on external projects.

The Ethics Committee meets on average 7-8 times a year depending on requests for assessment. Meetings take place every first Wednesday of each month, unless there is no request for assessment. Once a year the national chairman of the ethics committee meets with all the chairmen of the different ethics committees in France, and the administrative heads of animal experimentation in France, at the Ministry of Research in Paris.

The members of the EC must fulfil the different roles that we can find in animal experimentation: manipulator (level 2, technician), handler (level, 3), veterinarian and a so-called "naïve" person who does not work directly with the experimental animals in order to have an external opinion on the procedures.

Members were selected based on their roles when the committee was created, later other members joined voluntarily, the ethics committee evaluated the applications and voted to incorporate or not to incorporate them. The Chair is voted on every 3 years, the rest of the positions are not term positions.


The members of the IRSEA Ethics Committee are :

Garance di Pasquale and Carlos Grau as researchers.

Elisa Codecasa and Carlos Grau as veterinarians.

Philippe Monneret for the manipulations.

Emeline Gautier as animalist.

Didier Boccheciampe as external person.


(+33)04 90 75 57 00
Monday - Friday 08h|17h
Closed on Saturdays
Closed on Sundays
Quartier Salignan
84 400 APT