In Serbia, the Animal Welfare Act, with its accompanying by-laws, precisely regulates the use of animals in experiments. After the ORCA campaign, the act banned animal experiments in elementary and secondary schools, as well as in higher education institutions in undergraduate studies that threaten their health and wellbeing. Scientific research organizations and other legal entities conducting animal experiments are obliged to establish an Ethics committee for the protection of experimental animal welfare, one representative of which should be a member of the Animal Protection Association. Also, at the national level, the Minister establishes by a decision a special working group – the Ethics Council for experimental animal welfare. The task of these committees is to provide expert opinions on the ethical and scientific justification for performing the experiment, that is, to properly measure the potential benefits of performing the experiment with the degree of suffering caused to animals.
The “3R Rules” principles, developed over 50 years ago, are today the basic guide for humane use of animals for experimental purposes and are incorporated into international and national laws relating to this field. These include (1) Replacement of animals with those on a lower phylogenetic scale or the use of non-animal models (cell and tissue culture, computer methods, volunteers, etc.), wherever possible to achieve a scientific goal; (2) Reduction of the number of animals used in the experiment whenever possible; and (3) Refinement of experimental procedures to minimize the ethical cost, that is, the pain, suffering and stress caused to experimental animals.
The 3R rule contributes to the quality of experiment, its recognition and ethics, that is, ensures smooth international scientific cooperation.
ORCA provides support to educational and scientific institutions through participation in the process of ethical evaluation of individual animal experiments, and to participants in the experiment to ensure good experimental animal welfare and consistent application of the 3R rules. ORCA also supports educational and scientific institutions in recognizing the importance of alternatives to the use of live animals in experiments. ORCA representative in the Ethics Council for Experimental Animal Welfare from 2009 to 2016 was Katarina Novaković, a Coordinator of the Experimental Animal Welfare Team. ORCA has representatives in ethics committees for the protection of experimental animal welfare from several faculties of the University of Belgrade (Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Biology and Faculty of Agriculture) and some scientific research organizations (Institute for Applied Nuclear Energy – INEP, Military Medical Academy and Institute of Virology, Vaccines and Sera ‘Torlak’).