Category Archives: Statistics

Rise in animals used in research in Spain in 2015

In this post we take a closer look at Spain’s recently published animal research statistics for 2015 (see previous years here). These show that in 2015, there were 858,946 procedures on animals for scientific purposes, up 5% from 2014 (821,570 procedures). The number of animals is likely to be very similar (with only 14,473 procedures on animals which had previously been used in prior research).

Animal Research in Spain in 2014. Click to Enlarge

Animal Research in Spain in 2015. Click to Enlarge

One of the main reasons for this rise is the large increase in the use of birds, mainly chickens, which more than doubled since 2014. Zebrafish, which saw a huge 250% rise in 2014, decreased by 30%. Cephalalopoda (e.g. Octopuses, squid and cuttlefish) almost doubled in number after being included in the 2014 statistics for the first time (in line with the EU Directive).

Animals used in research in Spain in 2015

Most research was on mice, fish, birds and rats

Mice, rats, fish and birds accounted for over 91% 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 2015; again, similar to other EU countries and to previous years in Spain.

Severity of animal experiments in Spain

The new EU guidelines also require retrospective reporting of animal suffering in experiments. Of the 858,946 procedures, 44.7% were mild, 38.5% were moderate, 8.0% were severe, and 8.7% 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 Trends in Spain

Animal Research Trends in Spain

The number of animals used in testing and research since 2009 has fallen from a little over 1.4 million animals to just over 850,000 in 2015. These older statistics are available on the website of the Ministry for Agriculture.

Other insights that could be gleaned from the statistics:

  • 31.6% of studies involved the use of genetically altered animals.
  • Nearly all animals (~98%) came from within the EU
  • No wild caught primates were used. Of the 290 primates (not to be confused with the number of procedures on primates) 281 were either the grandchildren (F2) or beyond of wild caught animals.
  • The most common use of animals was Basic research (50.5%), followed by Translational and Applied Research (26.3%) and Regulatory use (16.8%).

We aim to keep our readers abreast of the latest developments in animal statistics worldwide. Keep your eyes out for more stats on the horizon.

Source of Spanish statistics: http://www.mapama.gob.es/es/ganaderia/temas/produccion-y-mercados-ganaderos/informedeusodeanimalesen2015_tcm7-436494.pdf

Animal Research Statistics in Czech Republic, Estonia and Slovenia in 2015

Speaking of Research try to keep on top of the latest statistics coming from governments around the world. This post will look at three countries which have recently published their 2015 statistics.

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic reported a 1% rise in the number of animal procedures to 234,366. This was mainly fish (38.5%), mice (31.5%), rats (13.1%) and birds (11.1%), with all remaining species collectively accounting for only about 6% of procedures in 2015.

Procedures on animals in the Czech Republic for research in 2015. Click to Enlarge

Procedures on animals in the Czech Republic for research in 2015. Click to Enlarge

Dogs, cats and primates together accounted for less than 0.5% of research procedures (980). There was a marked rise in the use of fish (+20%), rats (+11%) and livestock (+45%), with decreases in mice (-9%) and reptiles/amphibians (-73%). Mice, rats, fish and birds accounted together for over 95% of procedures – similar to many other European countries.

animal-research-by-species-in-czech-republic-pie-chart-2015

The most common areas of research were “basic research” (39.7%),  “protection of the natural environment in the interests of the health or welfare of humans beings or animals” (27.0%) and “Translational and applied research” (8.9%).

There has been less animal research in the 2013-15 period than at almost any other time since 2000, though it is unclear from the statistics why this is.

Trend over time in animal experiments in the Czech Republic. Click to Enlarge.

Trend over time in animal experiments in the Czech Republic. Click to Enlarge.

Source of Czech Republic statistics: http://eagri.cz/public/web/file/1497/EPZ15t_resorty.pdf

Estonia

The small Eastern European country of Estonia also provided its 2015 statistics recently, showing a 33% drop, from 6,164 procedures in 2014, to 4162 in 2015.

Procedures on animals in Estonia for research in 2015. Click to Enlarge

Procedures on animals in Estonia for research in 2015. Click to Enlarge

animal-research-by-species-in-estonia-pie-chart-2015A number of species used in 2014 were not used in 2015. Procedures on cats fell from 126 to 0, and pigs and sheep (previously 10 procedures) also ceased. As is typical in many European countries, rodents, fish and birds accounted for most animal research in Estonia.

Animal research severity statistics from Estonia, 2015

Animal research severity statistics from Estonia, 2015

Most procedures were mild or moderate, with only 8% of procedures (mostly on mice, with 23 on rats) being classified as severe. You can see examples of how procedures might be classified on the example list produced by the EU.

Source of Estonian statistics: http://www.agri.ee/sites/default/files/content/loomakasvatus/loomkatsed-statistika-2015.pdf

Slovenia

Another small European country, Slovenia reported that it conducted 9,110 procedures in 2015, down 21% from 2014.

Procedures on animals in Slovenia for research in 2015. Click to Enlarge

Procedures on animals in Slovenia for research in 2015. Click to Enlarge

The main change was the fall in mice by 22%. Mice still account for 94.6% of all animals used in research in Slovenia. Amphibians had not been used in studies in 2014, though the 95 animals may all have been from a single study.

As is the case in many smaller countries (but not all), most of the research was animal testing for regulatory purposes (74%), followed by translational and applied research (12.9%) and basic research (10.6%).

Source of Slovenian statistics: http://www.uvhvvr.gov.si/fileadmin/uvhvvr.gov.si/pageuploads/REGISTRI_IN_OBRAZCI/Zdravje_zivali/Dobrobit_zivali/Statisticni_podatki/UPORABA_ZIVALI_V_POSKUSIH_2015.pdf

Hungary publishes 2015 animal research statistics

Hungary has published its annual statistics showing the number of procedures carried out on animals for scientific purposes in 2015. This post has translated much of the statistics into English and aims to interpret the data as a whole. In 2015, Hungary conducted 184,648 animal procedures on animals – all regulated under EU Directive 2010/63. This figure is 8% lower than in 2014.

Procedures on animals in Hungary for research in 2015. Click to Enlarge

Procedures on animals in Hungary for research in 2015. Click to Enlarge

Overall, 87.7% of procedures were done on mice, birds and rats. This figure rises to 93.8% when cold-blooded animal reptiles, amphibians and fish are included. Dogs, cats and primates together accounted for less than 0.15% of the total.

Trend over time in animal experiments in Hungary. Click to Enlarge.

Trend over time in animal experiments in Hungary. Click to Enlarge.

Using the trend graph we can see how – bar an anomalous year in 2013 – there has been a steady downward trend in animal procedures in Hungary from over 300,000 in 2007, to less than 200,000 in 2015. Perhaps coincidentally the 2013 high point coincides with the implementation of the EU Directive (and its rules around counting procedures), meaning it is possible that this figure is a statistical error caused by incorrect data from the first year under a new counting regime.

Animal Research by Species in  Hungary Pie Chart 2015

Other things to note in the Hungarian statistics:

  • Only 3.8% of animal procedures were on genetically altered animal – a much lower proportion than, say, the UK, where almost half of procedures were the breeding of a genetically altered animal.
  • 40% of procedures were for regulatory purposes, 34% were for translational or applied research, 21% was for basic research, and the remainder was for other purposes. It is common in smaller European countries for a larger proportion of animal studies to be for regulatory purposes.
  • Hungary also provided retrospective severity data for animal procedures. 71% of procedures were classified as mild, 15% as moderate, 6% as severe, and 8% as non-recovery (where the animal is not woken up after being anaesthetised for surgery).

Speaking of Research seek to be the best source of information on the internet on animal research and testing statistics. Unfortunately language barriers mean that we often find it hard to get statistics from non-English speaking countries. If you speak multiple languages and are able to help us out finding the statistics from other countries we would be very grateful. See more about how to help here.

Find more on the Hungarian stats here: https://www.nebih.gov.hu/data/cms/176/152/Allatkiserleti_jelentes_2015.pdf

Speaking of Research

Switzerland’s animal research in numbers for 2015

The statistics for animal research conducted in Switzerland in 2015 were released last week. We have translated these tables to English and these data are summarized below.

CC-BY: SpeakingofResearch.com

Animal Research in 2015 in Switzerland. Click to Enlarge

Number of animals used in research in Switzerland in 2015. We have added a column titled "Total 2014" to aid comparison. Click to Enlarge

Number of animals used in research in Switzerland in 2015 in greater detailClick to Enlarge

Overall, there were 682,333 animals (not including invertebrates except Cephalopoda and lobsters) used in research and animal testing in Switzerland in 2015. Most of these animals were involved in basic research (66.1%), with “discovery, development and quality control” being the next most common (19.2%). The remainder were used for other reasons including disease diagnosis, education and training and protecting the environment. Mice were again the most prevalently used species (60.4%).

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

92.2% of the animals used in research and testing were conducted on mice, rats, fish and birds, similar to other European countries. Monkeys (198), cats (621) and dogs (2,518) together accounted for 0.6% of all research animals, with an overall decrease of 547 animals from 2014 for these species.

Animal Research in Switzerland

Animals used in research in Switzerland in 2015. Click to Enlarge

Pain, suffering and harm, were also measured and classified under four grades of severity; 0, 1, 2 and 3. In 2015, 42.9% of experiments were Grade 0, 34% were Grade 1, 21% were Grade 2 and 2.1% were Grade 3. These are defined as follows:

The following four categories are used for constraints on animals resulting from procedures or measures in the context for animal experiments:

  • Severity grade 0 – no constraint: Procedures and actions performed on animals for experimental purposes that do not inflict pain, suffering or harm on the animals, engender fear or impair their general well-being;
  • Severity grade 1 – mild constraint: Procedures and actions performed on animals for experimental purposes that cause short-term mild pain or harm or a mild impairment of general well-being;
  • Severity grade 2 – moderate constraint: Procedures and actions performed on animals for experimental purposes that cause short-term moderate or medium to long-term mild pain, suffering or harm, short term moderate fear or short to medium-term severe impairment of general well-being;
  • Severity grade 3 – severe constraint: Procedures and actions performed on animals for experimental purposes that cause medium to long-term moderate pain or severe pain, medium to long-term moderate harm or severe harm, long-term severe fear or a severe impairment of general well-being.
Severity Data in Switzerland since 1997. Click to Enlarge

Severity Data in Switzerland since 1997. Click to Enlarge

These numbers are relatively consistent across time, with on average 78% of all animals being exposed to no or minor short-lasting pain and distress.

Trend over time in animal experiments in the Switzerland. Click to Enlarge.

Trend over time in animal experiments in the Switzerland. Click to Enlarge.

Overall there has been a steady downward trend in the number of animals used in research in Switzerland over the last 30 years, despite the observed increase in the number of animals used between 2014 and 2015. According to SwissInfo, Switzerland’s federal veterinary office said in a statement that “the increase in animal experiments was linked to studies involving large herds of animals and to species conservation projects”.

See details of Switzerland’s 2014 statistics

Speaking of Research

Ireland publishes 2015 animal statistics showing 228,975 procedures

Ireland has recently published its annual statistics showing the number of animals used for research and testing in 2015. Ireland carried out 228,975 procedures on animals in 2015, 1% more than in 2014.

Procedures on animals in Ireland in 2015. Click to Enlarge

Procedures on animals in Ireland in 2015. Click to Enlarge

A procedure is defined as “any use of an animal for scientific or educational purposes, which may cause the animal a level of pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm, equivalent to, or higher than, that caused by the introduction of a needle in accordance with good veterinary practice.” This definition includes the development and care of any genetically modified animal in which pain or distress may result.

Mice continue to be the most commonly used species at 83%. Together, mice, rats, and fish account for 90% of all animal procedures. No non-human primates, hamsters, or gerbils were used in Ireland in 2015. Dogs and cats accounted for less than 0.33% of all animals used and represent a 27% and 63% decrease in number of procedures for these species, respectively, from 2014. Interestingly, 99% of animals used in Ireland were bred in the European Union (EU).

Animals used in research in ireland iin 2015. Click to Enlarge

Animals used in research in ireland iin 2015. Click to Enlarge

While procedures on pigs, cattle, and other animals rose by 307%, 193%, and 148% respectively, combined, these groups only account for 6.6% of all animal procedures performed in Ireland.

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Click to Enlarge

69% of the total number of animals used was for testing the safety, quality, and potency of medicines – a necessary requirement under EU law for new drugs. The next most common use was for basic research (18%) followed by translational and applied research (10%).

The report showed that 49% of procedures were classified as mild, 22% moderate, 27% severe, and 2% non-recovery. There was a significant reduction in severe procedures in 2015 when compared to 2014. 99% of severe procedures were on mice. Page 17 of the report has definitions for mild, moderate, severe and non-recovery.

HPRA table on Severity of studies in Ireland

Sarah Elkin

Animal Experiments in the UK: Statistics show 4,142,631 procedures in 2015

The UK Home Office has published the 2015 annual statistics showing the number of animal procedures carried out in Great Britain under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act, 1986; this covers all vertebrate species (and Cephalopods). In 2015 there were 4.14 million procedures carried out, up 7.1% from 2014 (3.87 million). However, the Home Office have warned that comparisons with 2014 are likely to be problematic as issues with a new counting procedure (introduced in 2014) are only now being ironed out.

[T]hroughout this release, 2015 data are compared with 2013 data, as neither year of data are subject to the same data quality issues as the 2014 data. However, comparisons between 2015 and 2013 should still be exercised with a degree of caution due to the methodological change in 2014.

When compared to 2013, the number of animal procedures rose 0.5% from 4.12 million procedures.

While we often describe these statistics as being for the UK, they do not include Northern Ireland (who carried out 19,857 procedures in 2014), and so are technically the figures for Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales).

Procedures on animals in Great Britain for research in 2015. Click to Enlarge

Procedures on animals in Great Britain for research in 2015. Click to Enlarge

Overall, 96.8% of animals used in scientific studies were mice, rats, fish or birds. Dogs and primates (which are offered special protections under UK law) together accounted for less than 0.2% of the total (similar to in previous years), this becomes 2.01% if cats are included. The statistics also reveal that half of all experiments were the breeding of GM animals which were not used in further experiments – this is almost identical to 2014. Overall, over 67% (two thirds) of all experiments involved genetically modified animals.

Different colours represent changes to the counting method in 1987 and 2014.

Trend over time in animal experiments in the UK. Click to Enlarge.

Using the trend graph we can see how 2014 data appears to be a blip (as confirmed by the Home Office), with animal experiments remaining relatively constant around 4.1 million. While this is higher than in the 1990s, it remains much lower than the 5.5+ million animals used in the mid 1960s.

Procedures on non-human primates rose slightly from 3,246 procedures in 2014, to 3,612 in 2015. The number of procedures on cats fell by 1 to 209 procedures and on dogs rose to 4,643 (but down slightly from the more accurate 2013 figures).

Animal pexperiments in research and testing in Great Britain 2015 by species

A ban on cosmetic testing on animals (1998) and of using great apes (gorillas, orang-utans and chimpanzees) in research (1986) meant both had zero procedures in 2015. It should be noted that some research may continue on great apes in zoos, however such research can be observation-based only as “procedures” on great apes are illegal under ASPA.

For the second time the UK statistics include retrospective reporting of suffering. Rather than just submitting licence proposals to the Home Office that include estimated levels of suffering, the researchers now have to report on what was actually seen (using a variety of measures). Unfortunately the statistics put these in two separate tables (Table 3 and 8). So we have combined them to get severity for all procedures in 2015. We can see most experiments are sub threshold (34%; less than the introduction of a hypodermic needle) or mild (45%), with remainder as moderate (14%), severe (4.5%) or non-recovery (3%; the animal never awakes from anaesthesia). Overall the proportion of moderate and severe fell from 19.2% in 2014 to 18.2 in 2015.

Severity of animal research in the UK in 2015

Severity of animal research in the UK in 2015

Other things to note in the UK statistics:

  • 49.8% of procedures were for the creation and breeding of genetically altered animals (not used in other experiments), 26.6% were for basic research, 13.4% was for regulatory purposes and 9.7% was translational/applied research [Table 1]
  • Over the experimental procedures, two-thirds of the “severe” procedures were regulatory procedures on mice. This is often because death is an endpoint in such procedures [Table 3.1]
  • Over 97% of the animals were born in the UK [Table 2.1]
  • 47.7% of procedures were conducted in universities and medical schools, 25.1% were in commercial organisations (e.g. pharmaceuticals), 12.4% were done at non-profit making organisations (e.g. medical research charities), and 11.8% were done at other public bodies. [Table 11]

Speaking of Research congratulate the UK government on continuing to produce the most comprehensive statistics on animal experiments worldwide. It is also important to note that these statistics are released as a press conference each year where representatives from the scientific community speak about the importance of animals in research.

Speaking of Research

Find more on the stats here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/537708/scientific-procedures-living-animals-2015.pdf

Read last year’s release here: https://speakingofresearch.com/2015/10/22/animal-experiments-in-the-uk-government-releases-2014-statistics/

Animal Research in Israel – 2015 Statistics Released

You may have noticed that Speaking of Research has expanded its list of national animal research statistics to around 30 countries. We would like to thank the RSPCA’s Lab Animal team for supplying us with some of our more recent EU additions. However, our most recent addition is the 2015 statistics for Israel, which showed that the number of animals used in research had declined by 1.6% to 334,767 animals. These numbers can be found on the Israeli Ministry of Health website.

Testing on Animals in Israel for research in 2015. Click to Enlarge

Testing on Animals in Israel for research in 2015. Click to Enlarge

The number of most species declined, except for the use of mice, rabbits and primates. The main fall (49%) was in “Other Animals”, which includes fish, amphibians and reptiles. A 20% fall in the number of rats used, down to under 40,000, also contributed to the overall slight fall in numbers of animals used in research.

Animals used in research in Israel in 2015. Click to Enlarge

Animals used in research in Israel in 2015. Click to Enlarge

Mice are far and away the most commonly used animal in research in Israel (at 76%). Rats, Mice and Birds accounted for around 95% of animals used in research. The 42 primates used accounted for 0.01% of research animals in 2015. Research on animals, particularly primates, has been under pressure in Israel for the past few years. This led to seven Nobel Prize Laureates and the presidents of seven major research universities writing to the Prime Minister, and warning him of the risks to Israeli research posed by the animal rights community there.

Trends in Israeli animal experiments 2004-15. Click to Enlarge.

Trends in Israeli animal experiments 2004-15. Click to Enlarge.

Historical statistics show that the number of animals used each year has been fairly constant over the past 11 years – fluctuating between around 275,000 and 340,000. The slight variations may account for individual projects which used a lot of animals, or from slight changes in science funding over the years.

According to  YNetNews:

45.2% of the experiments were related to advance health and medicine and to prevent suffering. 44.3% were to promote scientific research. 9% were for testing or manufacturing materials or objects, and 1.5% were for education and teaching

The article also provided information on animal suffering, similar to what is included in standard European statistics.

The research procedures were categorized according to a five-level scale determined by the NCAE, which considers the animals’ suffering. According to this scale, 9% of the studies were at the lowest level, 19% were at the second, 30% at the third, 29% at the fourth, and 13% were at the highest level.

We will be keeping an eye on future statistics.

Speaking of Research

Original Data: http://www.health.gov.il/Services/Committee/animax/Documents/multiyearUse_2015.pdf