Spain publishes animal research statistics for 2014

Edited on 5th June 2016 to reflect the Spanish Government’s minor revision of its statistics.

In the last two weeks we have provided animal research statistics for Switzerland and Finland. Now Spain joins our statistical analysis as it released its 2014 statistics for the number of animal research procedures (for research and testing). Overall, 821,570 animal procedures were conducted in 2014, an 11% fall from 2013, but also the first statistical release under the new EU guidelines. The number of animals is likely to be very similar (with only 14,552 procedures on animals which had previously been used in research).

Numbers of animal procedures in Spain - Animal Testing 2014 v2

Animal Research in Spain in 2014. Click to Enlarge

Most species saw a large drop in numbers, with the main exceptions being fish and birds which rose sharply. Zebrafish have been increasingly used in research all over the world due to their fast reproduction cycle and transparent embryos. Cephalalopoda were included in 2014 for the first time.

Animals used in research in Spain in 2014

Most research was on mice, rats, birds and fish

Mice, rats, fish and birds accounted for 93% of research animals in Spain, roughly the same proportion as other EU countries. Dogs, cats and primates account for less than 0.2% of all research procedures in Spain in 2014; again, similar to other EU countries.

The new EU guidelines also require retrospective reporting of animal suffering in experiments. Of the 821,570 procedures, 53% were subthreshold or mild, 27% were moderate, 8% were severe, and 12% non-recovery (where the animal is fully anaesthetised before surgery and then never woken up). For more information see Table 3 of the Government statistical release (in Spanish).

Animal Research in Spain 2009-14 v2The number of animals used in testing and research since 2009 has fallen from a little over 1.4 million animals to just over 800,000 in 2014. These older statistics are available on the website of the Ministry for Agriculture.

2 responses to “Spain publishes animal research statistics for 2014

  1. Juan Carlos Marvizon

    I’m worried that the decline in animal research in Spain over the last 5 years may reflect an overall decline in biomedical research and its funding.

    • I suspect this is partially true. The Spanish economy has been on a downwards trend from 2008-2012, which probably cut science funding. Often research in a country slightly lags the economy – as funding secured in one year can last several more even if the economy dives in the middle.

      Lower numbers of animals is not itself good or bad – it may reflect a decline in biomedical research (bad), or an increasing 3Rs drive (generally good).