Published: 14-10-2011 00:00 | Updated: 19-06-2014 15:21

Ethics Prize for the promotion of animal ethics

Ann-Christine Eklöf, associate professor of experimental paediatrics, and Brun Ulfhake, professor of anatomy, are to receive this year's KI Ethics Prize for their work with animal ethics.

Both prizewinners have championed the improvement of animal house conditions and ensured that laws and rules governing experimental animals are complied with as fully as possible. An important part of their work has involved making sure that everyone working with animals at Karolinska Institutet – including researchers, students and technicians – has received thorough training and instruction on experimental animal science and the prevailing legislative requirements.

"Ethically speaking, laboratory animals are to be taken care of in exactly the same way as patients in a hospital," says Dr Eklöf.

Neither Ann-Christine Eklöf nor Brun Ulfhake believes that medical research will be able to cope in the future without animal experiments.

"There are many forces of opposition ranged up against animal experimentation," says Professor Ulfhake. "Its therefore imperative we make sure that the quality of animal experiments is so high it precludes all unnecessary use of animals, for which there are no moral grounds."

This was another reason why the awards panel chose to draw attention to issues of animal ethics, as the panel believes animal experimentation to be essential to sound medical research and as the relevant ethical requirements are becoming gradually more far-reaching and stringent.

"Maintaining a high animal ethical profile is crucial to a medical university like Karolinska Institutet," says Niels Lynöe, chair of the Ethics Council.