Laboratory animals

Laboratory animals are used in Finland for

  • scientific research,
  • teaching, and
  • animal testing.

Scientific research mostly takes place in universities and research institutions, which carry out both basic and applied research. Each research project is unique and relies on different animal models.
Very few live animals are used for teaching. Live animals can only be used in universities or to teach vocational skills. Vocational skills are skills that are needed to handle and carry out procedures on animals.

Animal testing is generally only carried out in order to satisfy legal obligations, such as to study the safety of pharmaceutical or chemical substances. This kind of testing is extremely rare in Finland.

For more information about animal experimentation in Finland, the laws protecting laboratory animals and the authorities responsible for regulating animal research, visit the website of the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s website also contains information about Finland’s national Advisory Board on the Protection of Animals Used for Scientific or Educational Purposes. 

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's website

Use of animals for scientific or educational purposes – Principles in Finland

Statistics on laboratory animals

The Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland collects annual statistics on the use of laboratory animals. Our data collection procedure is based on EU rules. You can email [email protected] to request the information.

The 2021 statistics have been composed slightly differently from before, due to the changes that have been made in EU reporting. From 2023 onwards information at national level is available in the ALURES database. Information may be viewed in the same way as currently at EU level.

Use of animals in Finland during 2015-2021: EU reports (in English only). Procedure denotes a single use of an animal.
1. First procedures and origins of animals, trends
2. All procedures (except creation or maintenance of genetically altered animals), trends
3. Procedures for creation and maintenance of genetically altered animals, trends

Statistical information on animals used for scientific purposes across the EU between 2015 and 2018 is available on the website of the European Commission. The Commission’s website also has links to statistics published by individual member states.

Website of the European Commission

The ALURES statistical database provides data on how animals have been used in the EU. 

EU Member States national statistical reports

Operational steering and control

Non-technical project summaries and retrospective assessments

A non-technical project summary must be produced of each authorised project involving the use of animals to explain why and how the project was carried out. The summaries are published in Finnish in the EU database from 2021 onwards.

We have previously published summaries going back to 2013 (Finnish pages: years 2018-2020). You can email [email protected] to request the previous information.

All projects involving procedures classified as ‘severe’ must undergo a retrospective assessment. The Project Authorisation Board can determine this assessment also for another reason. The results of retrospective assessments have been published with in non-technical project summaries since 2017 (Finnish pages). 

Project Authorisation Board

All projects involving the use of animals require prior authorisation from a body known as the Project Authorisation Board (formerly the Animal Experiment Board, ELLA).

The composition of the Board changes every five years. 

The Project Authorisation Board consists of

  • 16 members,
  • 16 deputies,
  • a chair, and
  • a vice-chair.

The members of the Board are experts in

  • scientific research,
  • animal care and experimental techniques,
  • veterinary medicine, and
  • practical animal protection work or ethical questions.

Officers from the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland prepare applications for the Board’s consideration. The Board consists of four sections, which take turns to process applications.

A section can also decide to refer an application to the full Board, in which case all four sections take part in the proceedings. This is usually done if

  • an application presents an important policy issue,
  • the section rejects an application, or
  • the members of the section cannot agree on the fate of an application.

Composition of the Project Authorisation Board from 15 October 2018 to 14 October 2023

Tuula Heinonen, Professor, Espoo (Satu Kuure, Adjunct Professor, Helsinki) 
Petteri Piepponen, Adjunct Professor, Helsinki (Vootele Võikar, Adjunct Professor, Helsinki) 
Niina Saarinen-Aaltonen, Adjunct Professor, Turku (Esa Koskela, Adjunct Professor, Jyväskylä)
Kari Mäkelä, Research Fellow, Oulu (Ilona Kareinen, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Espoo) 

(deputies in brackets)

Niina Kemppinen, Laboratory Coordinator, Helsinki (Tuula Stranius, Research Technician, Oulu) 
Sakari Laaksonen, Laboratory Animal Veterinarian, Oulu (Kirsi Vienola, Master of Science in Agriculture and Forestry, Vantaa) 
Satu Mering, Adjunct Professor, Kuopio (Auli Kiukkonen, Research Technician, Espoo)
Ulla-Marjut Jaakkola, Adjunct Professor Emerita, Turku (Anne Kankkunen, Veterinary Laboratory Technician, Kuopio) 

(deputies in brackets)

Anna Meller, Veterinarian, Vantaa (Brian Mphande, Veterinarian, Hyvinkää) 
Hanna-Marja Voipio, Professor, Oulu (Karoliina Alm, Veterinarian, Sipoo) 
Emrah Yatkin, Adjunct Professor, Turku (Lasse Saloranta, Veterinarian, Sauvo) 
Kai Ökva, Veterinarian, Kuopio (Paula Lidauer, Veterinarian, Jokioinen) 

(deputies in brackets)

Paula Hirsjärvi, Master of Philosophy, Espoo (Laura Uotila, Animal Protection Expert, Sipoo) 
Suvi Ponnikas, Doctor of Philosophy, Malmö, Sweden, (Nea Konttinen, Veterinary Technician, Turku) 
Kreeta Ranki, Doctor of Philosophy, Turku, (Tiina Kauppinen, Doctor of Philosophy, Helsinki) 
Marianna Norring, Doctor of Philosophy, Helsinki, (Kirsi Swan, Veterinarian, Helsinki)

(deputies in brackets)