Tag Archives: 2015

Germany’s animal research in numbers for 2015

The statistics for animal research conducted in Germany in 2015 were submitted to the European Commission last week. We have summarised the data below. We compare that to the 2014 statistics also available on their website.


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

Germany used 2,799,961 animals in 2015, with an overall decrease (15.5%) in animal use when compared to 2014. Similar to other countries, mice remain the most popular species used in animal research, with an increase in use of 5% compared to 2014. Fish, birds, other rodents and other non-mammals saw sizable percentage decreases in their overall use compared to 2014, albeit compared to the total number of animals used, these relative differences are still small. Fish in particular saw a decrease because of differences in reporting between 2014 and 2015. According to the Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaf (BMEL), in 2014, “708,462 “other fish” (including about 563,600 fish larvae) were reported (21.38 percent). By 2015, however, the share of animals in the “other fish” category was only 2.88% (80,777 animals).”


Mice, rats and fish account for 91% of all animal procedures, rising to 95% if you include rabbits. Similarly to 2014, Germany remains one of the few European countries where rabbits are the fourth most commonly used species in 2015. Dogs, cats and primates accounted for 0.31% of all animals, despite a doubling in the number of animals used for these species.


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This year was the second year where there was retrospective assessment and reporting of severity (i.e. reporting how much an animal actually suffered rather than how much it was predicted to suffer prior to the study). The report showed that 43% of procedures were classed as mild, 17% as moderate, 4% as severe, and 36% as non-recovery, where an animal is anaesthetised for surgery, and then not woken up afterwards. Compared to 2014, there were some noticeable shifts in relation to severity. While the number of procedures which caused animals moderate and severe levels of stress and distress decreased, the numbers of procedures that were terminal increased.

Severity of animal experiments in Germany

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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. Next year’s data may provide some insight into whether and how this trend will continue.

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

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

Other interesting information provided by the annual statistical release includes:

  • 8% of animals used were bred within the EU [Table 3]
  • The main purpose of research was “Basic Research” (58.7%), followed by “Regulatory use and Routine production” (22.5%), “Maintenance of colonies of established genetically altered animals, not used in other procedures”, “Translational and applied Research” (13.6%), and all other uses (5.2 %) [Table 9]
  • Two-thirds of the total dogs, cats and primates were used for Regulatory testing [Table 9]
  • 40% of animals were genetically altered, compared with 60% which were not. Over 98% of the genetically altered animals were mice or zebrafish [Table 20]

For further information about animal research (Tierversuche) in Germany see our background briefing, available in English and German.

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2015 Statistics: http://www.bmel.de/SharedDocs/Downloads/Tier/Tierschutz/Versuchstierdaten2015.pdf?__blob=publicationFile

2014 Statistics: http://www.bmel.de/SharedDocs/Downloads/Tier/Tierschutz/Versuchstierdaten2014.pdf?__blob=publicationFile

N.B. Some our more eagle-eyed readers may have noted the 2014 statistics referenced in this article do not correspond to those we published a year ago. This is because the German authorities changed the counting methodologies for 2015 and re-released an altered 2014 statistics so that they could be fairly compared to the 2015 data.

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

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

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