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German MEP laboratory animal fact-finding visit

Marlene Mortler, a German member of the European Parliament (MEP) and the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU), has visited the Centre for Stroke and Dementia Research in Munich, part of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU).

Over a three-hour visit, she met with researchers and technicians, delving into discussions about strokes, Alzheimer's disease, and the role of animal research.

Ms Mortler, a vocal advocate of biomedical research, expressed her concerns about a potential 'brain drain' from the field without greater support for scientists. This was further emphasised in the presentations by the centre's scientists who highlighted the increasing future costs to the EU economy due to brain diseases.

The visit began with remarks by Hans van Ess, LMU vice president of research (pictured to the right of Marlene Mortler MEP), about the need to use animals in research at LMU and the stringent animal welfare measures in place.

Eckart Thien, the head of animal welfare at LMU, then explained that animals were one of the most important methods used in biomedical research and that their removal would be the same as banning spanners for workers at VW or Mercedes.

While Dieter Edbauer spoke about his studies of motor neurone disease (ALS/MND) and his work with both patients and animals to study the disease.

During the visit, Ms Mortler also engaged with presentations from scientists working in animal research, addressing stroke and dementia research, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease studies, and the economic impact of brain diseases - brain disease cost the German economy €83bn in 2020, and would rise to €141bn in 2040 and €195bn in 2060 .

The tour included visits to the LMU laboratories (pictured above) and the zebrafish facility and also the mice facilities (which required wearing a full protective suit, see below) and concluded with a discussion that addressed challenges such as the surplus of genetically altered animals and the current legislative barriers to their repurposing for research purposes.


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