German Animal Research Statistics

In accordance with EU guidelines the Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft produces annual statistics showing the number of procedures on animals in German research. This includes many types of research including basic and translations studies, animal testing for safety, and the breeding of GM mouse lines. EU guidelines demand that all vertebrates and Cephalopoda be counted, however other invertebrates, such as fruit flies or nematode worms, are not.

In 2015, there was just under 2.8 million procedures on animals (2.75 million animals). Since 2014, the figures count the number of animal procedures completed in the current year (previously it was the number started). Since some animals may be used more than once (usually larger species), there is a difference of 1-2% between the number of procedures and number of animals.

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Animal research in Germany for 2015 by species [Click to Enlarge]

Looking at the historical data, we see that like several other countries, the number of animal experiments increased steadily between 2000-2012. The sharp increase in 2014 followed by a decrease in 2015, reflect in part differences in the accounting procedures used between 2014 and 2015. Thus, it is too early to say whether the fall in 2015 is a one-off or a sign of a future drop-off in animal experiments. It is likely that this drop also partly reflects a decrease in funding to science during the recession and economic turmoil of the past few years.

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Trends in German animal experiments 2000-15. Click to Enlarge.

Rodents (mainly mice and rats), fish, birds and rabbits account for 97% of the animals used in research, with mice being by far the most common species (72.5% of total). Dogs, cats and primates together accounted for less than 0.4% of all animals used.

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EU guidelines also demand that countries retrospectively report the suffering of animals after the procedures. The latest report (Table 5) showed that 43% of procedures were classed as mild, 13% as moderate, 4% as severe, and 27% as non-recovery, where an animal is anaesthetised for surgery, and then not woken up afterward.

Severity of animal experiments in Germany

The severity of animal procedures in Germany. Click to Enlarge

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