Humane endpoint is the moment when the pain or suffering the animal has been subjected to must for ethical reasons immediately be mitigated, by euthanising the animal, ending the painful procedure or alleviating the pain or suffering by other means.
When planning an animal experiment, the researchers should already in advance consider how animal well-being could potentially be compromised. If it is to be expected that the animal may be subjected to pain, suffering or other harm in the experiment, all possible means of refinement must be applied and the planned (scientific) endpoint must be set immediately after the scientific goal has reliably been achieved. The grounds and time point of the scientific endpoint should be described in the study plan, as well as the anticipated level of harm.
The humane endpoints are to be defined so that if the anticipated level of harm is clearly exceeded, the experiment will be terminated or interruprted for the animal. The visible, clinical or other signs of reaching the humane endpoint must be described in as much detail as possible. If the animal falls ill or is unexpectedly injured due to factors unrelated to the study, the experiment must be interrupted in accordance with the scientific and humane endpoints.
General criteria for euthanasia include pain that cannot be alleviated, notable loss of weight or dehydration, refusal to eat or drink, or abnormal general condition and behaviour.
Last updated: 5.1.2017