Tag Archives: annual statistics

Rise in animal experiments in Denmark in 2015

Last week we looked at the 2015 animal research statistics for Spain, this week we move our attention to Denmark.  The newly published report by the Animal Research Inspectorate (Dyreforsøgstilsynet) shows that the number of procedures on animals carried out in Denmark in 2015 was 241,657, up 21% from 2014. The number of animals used is likely to be very similar.

Animal Research in Denmark in 2015. Click to Enlarge

Animal Research in Denmark in 2015. Click to Enlarge

There were rises in the number of procedures on all the main species – mice, rats, fish and birds. Fish saw one of the larger increases, up over 8,000 (77%) from 2014. The only major decrease was a 70% fall in the number of procedures on dogs – which fell from 224 to 68.

Mice, rats, fish and birds accounted for over 96% of research in Denmark.

Mice, rats, fish and birds accounted for over 96% of research in Denmark.

Mice, rats, fish and birds accounted for over 96% of research animals in Denmark, similar to many other EU countries. Dogs and cats accounted for just 0.05% of research animals, with no primates used in either 2015 or 2014.

Severity of animal experiments in Denmark

The new EU guidelines also require retrospective reporting of animal suffering in experiments. Of the 241,657 procedures in Denmark in 2015, over 90% were mild or moderate, 8.7% were non-recovery (where the animal is fully anaesthetised before surgery and then never woken up) and just 0.9% were severe. The proportion of severe experiments is below what has been reported in many other European countries. Most severe experiments were on mice. For more information see Figure 6 of the Government statistical release (in Spanish).

Animal Research Trends in Denmark

Animal Research Trends in Denmark

The number of animals used in testing and research since 2009 has gently decreased from over 290,000 to just over 240,000, a 17% decrease. The Danish report shows in 1980 the number of experiments was over 350,000, falling to 330,000 by 1990 and 300,000 in 2000. All of this evidences a long term decline in the number of animal procedures.

Other insights that could be gleaned from the statistics:

  • 16.1% of studies involved the use of genetically altered animals.
  • The most common use of animals was Translational and applied research (51%), followed by Basic Research (37%) and Regulatory use (9%).

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 Danish statistics.

Austria publishes 2015 statistics on animal research

Austria has published its statistics that show the number of animals used for research and testing in 2015. Austria carried out 227,317 procedures on animals in 2015, 8.7% more than in 2014.

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

The rise in the number of experiments is mainly due to a 7.1% rise in mice. There was a significant rise in the number of rabbits (+95%) and other rodents (+58%) used. There were also small rises in dogs (up 68% to 111 procedures) and cats (up 5 procedures to 34).

Animal Experiments in Austria in 2015. Click to Enlarge

Animal Experiments in Austria in 2015. Click to Enlarge

Mice continue to be the most commonly used species at 82%. Mice, rats and fish account for 89% of all animal procedures, rising to 96% if you include rabbits. It is interesting that Austria, rabbits are the second most common species, a fact not seen anywhere else in Europe, though neighbouring Germany also has a relatively high number (3.8% of total). The statistics show that most of these rabbits (93%) were involved in pyrogenicity studies (looking at fever response). No primates were used in Austria in 2015 (or 2014) and dogs and cats accounted for less than 0.07% of all animals used despite the rises in number of procedures for these species.

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

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

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). Reassuringly the proportions in each severity banding was similar to 2014, suggesting the system has been well understood. The report showed that 60% of procedures were classed as mild, 24% as moderate, 12% as severe, and 4% as non-recovery, where an animal is anaesthetised for surgery, and then not woken up afterwards.

From historical statistics we can see that while there has been an overall decline of almost 50% since 1990, the numbers have been edging upwards since their nadir in 1999. These numbers tend to reflect changing science funding environments within the country.

Trends in Austrian animal experiments 1990-15. Click to Enlarge.

Trends in Austrian animal experiments 1990-15. Click to Enlarge.

Some animal rights groups have criticised the rise in numbers, noting that it is the highest number since 1994. This is cherry picking – the numbers have been relatively stable since 1994, and are far lower than the 450,000+ animals being used in 1990 and 1991.

Austria is one of the first countries to publish its 2015 annual statistics, and we will be looking out for the statistics of other European countries. See our summary of statistics to compare countries.

Italy finally publishes 2013 statistics

While we will be posting Austria’s 2015 statistics on Monday, Italian authorities seem a little bit behind the times having only recently published their 2013 statistics for the use of animals in research. Italy carried out 723,739 procedures on animals in 2013, 5.9% less than in 2012.

Procedures on animals in the Italy for research in 2013. Click to Enlarge

The fall in the number of experiments is mainly due to a large (30%) fall in the number of fish, and a moderate drop in rats (9%) and mice (3.5%). There was also a small fall in dogs (down 45% to 300 procedures) and a rise in the number of primates experiments (up 41% to 475).

Animal Experiments in Italy in 2013. Click to Enlarge

Animal Experiments in Italy in 2013. Click to Enlarge

Rodents accounted for over 90% of all animals used in Italy in 2013 (mainly mice at 67.5% of the total). This rises to almost 98% when you include fish and birds. Primates and dogs together accounted for 0.1% of all research animals. No cats were used in 2013 (0r 2012).

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Italy’s 2013 statistics do not include measures of animal suffering – though this should come into the 2014 statistics (which most European countries have already published). What we can see (Table 2) is that most of the animal use (54%) was  basic research, followed by applied human studies (17%) and safety testing of human medicine and dentistry products (14%).

From historical statistics we can see a steady decline of over 25% since 2007. These numbers tend to reflect changing science funding environments within the country.

Trends in Italian animal experiments 2007-13. Click to Enlarge.

Trends in Italian animal experiments 2007-13. Click to Enlarge.

On Monday we should be publishing our 2015 Austrian statistics, and we will publish other country data as we get it. See our summary of statistics to compare countries, and please send us any data you find that we are lacking.

Germany publishes 2014 animal research statistics

Germany has published in statistics that show the number of animals used for research and testing in 2014. Germany carried out 2,798,463 procedures on animals in 2014, 6.6% fewer than in 2013.

Species of animals used in German Research in 2014. Click to Enlarge

Species of animals used in German Research in 2014. Click to Enlarge

The fall in the number of experiments is mainly due to a reduction in the numbers of mice used. There was a significant rise in the number of fish (+35%) and birds (+29%) used. As well as rises in dogs (up 82% to 4,636 procedures) and primates (+31% to 2,842 procedures).

Animal Experiments in Germany in 2014. Click to Enlarge

Animal Experiments in Germany in 2014. Click to Enlarge

Mice continue to be the most commonly used species at 68%. Mice, rats and fish account for 91% of all animal procedures, rising to 95% if you include rabbits. This last point is interesting when compared to most other European countries where birds are the fourth most common species. Of countries we have assessed in Europe, only Spain uses a similar proportion of rabbits. Dogs, cats and primates accounted for less than 0.4% of all animals used despite the rises in number of procedures for these species.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

This year was also the first 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 60% of procedures were classed as mild, 21% as moderate, 6% as severe, and 13% as non-recovery, where an animal is anaesthetised for surgery, and then not woken up afterwards.

From historical statistics we can see that, like several other EU countries, the number of animal experiments rose steadily between 2000-12, before slowing and reversing in 2013-4. It is likely that some of this reflects the drop in science funding during the recession and economic turmoil of the past seven years. Such cuts to funding can often take some years to take effect as research projects often have agreed funding for several years.

Trends in German animal experiments 2000-14. Note 2014 is in a different color to reflect the different reporting requirements. Click to Enlarge.

Trends in German animal experiments 2000-14. Note 2014 is in a different color to reflect the different reporting requirements. Click to Enlarge.

This final number should be treated with some caution as it is the first year under the new EU reporting guidelines which requires retrospective reporting on severity, and now asks for numbers of procedures of studies ending in the reporting year (rather than starting). The UK statistical release (which follows the same EU guidelines) came with the following notes and word of caution:

As a result of the change to counting procedures completed as opposed to procedures started, all procedures started before 2014 but completed in 2014 should be in both the pre-2014 and 2014 figures. Any procedures started in 2014 but completed after 2014 will not be included in the 2014 figures. It is expected that these opposing effects will partly cancel each other out. Any impact of the change from counting procedures started to counting procedures completed will be temporary and will disappear from future years’ data collections.

Finally noting:

As a result, the 2014 data and comparisons with previous years’ data should be interpreted with some caution.

We will continue to report on national statistics as they are published.