Mössingen / Tübingen (dpa / lsw) - Crows from the bird protection center of the nature conservation association Nabu could have been used for animal experiments at the University of Tübingen, in which electrodes were operated on in the brain.

Nabu Baden-Württemberg admitted on Friday that it had given eight dead and seven live carrion crows to animal physiologists between 2011 and 2015.

"This was done with the best of intentions," said a spokeswoman.

The «Spiegel» had previously reported that the scientists had implanted up to 16 electrodes in the brains of birds for experiments and measured reactions to colored symbols and other optical stimuli.

It initially remained unclear whether crows of the Nabu were also used for this.

"We are appalled by the events described in the report," said the Nabu. "Had the Nabu been aware of such animal experiments, no carrion crows would have been handed in." The association strictly rejects this type of animal experimentation and is currently assuming that the carrion crows from Mössingen were not used for this. So far, however, there has been no answer to a question.

According to the information provided, the bird protection center supports research and teaching in accordance with the statutes.

The birds were given on the assumption that they would only be used for breeding and / or for non-invasive behavioral observations.

"Animals were always given in accordance with the legal requirements."

After 2015, no more birds went to the Department of Animal Physiology because the District Veterinary Office had specified that live birds would only be given to this department with the approval of the authority.


By measuring brain waves, the researchers in Tübingen have shown, among other things, what happens in the crows' brains during learning. In one task, for example, you should learn to assign different colors to pictures of animals or flowers. First the crows had to learn which pictures belonged to which color by trial and error or by guessing. If they hit, they were rewarded. Individual nerve cells reacted differently to the various images: According to the information, one responded strongly to all images in the “blue” group, another to images in the “red” group - despite different motifs.

It is not the first time that animal experiments have made headlines in Tübingen: pictures of experiments with monkeys at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics triggered massive protests by animal rights activists a few years ago.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210423-99-330173 / 2


Reaction of the Nabu

"Spiegel" report (payment barrier)

Information about research with crows in Tübingen