Tag Archives: Spain

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

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.

Global Trends in Animal Rights Activism

I note that as I write this post I have no idea how this post will conclude. In order to count the number of global animal rights incidents I began to scan the Bite Back website (warning: AR extremist website) which logs most (all?) incidents of animal rights extremism globally. I found that eight countries have dominated the statistics in the last few years – Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, UK and USA.

Not having time to trawl through every month of every year from 2004 to 2011 I chose to add all the incidents from July to September (inclusive) of every year – essentially these are third quarter figures for each year. The time period was chosen because September was the most recently completed month. I came up with the following data:

Incidents of animal rights activism or animal rights extremism

Number of Animal Rights related incidents during the July-Sept period

The first point to mention is that, with the exception of a spike in 2008 and 2009, the total number of incidents has been fairly consistent at around 88 incidents over 8 countries in each annual 3 month period. Now let’s make the data a little prettier (click graph to enlarge).

Incidents of animal rights activism / extremismSo, what can we see from the graph.

The USA has seen a slight downward trend in the number of animal rights related incidents each quarter. However, the data is far from conclusive on this and may simply could equally be interpreted as showing a cyclical pattern of activism. In many ways the US data reflects the pattern in the UK (but with generally lower figures), let us hope this means there will be a general decline in the future. The USA average over the period was 11 incidents/quarter.

The UK had the highest levels of activism (average of 24 incidents/quarter) although a massive crackdown on extremism by UK authorities is probably a major part of the decline which has seen only 8 incidents in the July-Sept period for 2010 and 2011 combined. This is certainly promising news for biomedical research in the United Kingdom. See more about activism in Britain in the UK Experience page.

(Read more about the UK trends in our next post: UK Trends in Animal Rights Activism – The Rest of the Story)

Sweden has the second highest average number of incidents (17 incidents/quarter) it has seen a massive rise since 2010, increasing to 57 incidents in the 2011 period. This should be regarded as a concerning rise for authorities in Sweden. Mexico went from no incidents from 2004 to 2007 and then rose to an average of 33 incidents/quarter between 2008-2009. While there has clearly been a rise in activists in Mexico, starting in 2008, the post 2008 decline is less easy to explain.

Germany, Italy and Spain have been relatively consistent with the average number of incidents at 6.5, 8.6 and 7.8 respectively. Ireland remained fairly constant with an average of 2.8 incidents/quarter.

Overall it is hard to pinpoint any general pattern (though please use the data to make your own analysis). We must learn from the declines in countries like the UK, and use what we have learned to prevent the type of rises which have happened Sweden (and to a certain extent Mexico).

Cheers

Tom Holder

*Disclaimer: I may have made some small errors while counting by hand, however these errors should not be big enough to affect the statistics overall. It is also worth noting that not all global incidents are likely logged on BiteBack. Furthermore, I did not investigate the nature of each incident – some are arson attacks and vandalism, others are empty threats and the release or imprisonment of activists – I have not differentiated between these incidents.