Tag Archives: Statistics

How many animals were used in Poland and Finland in 2016?

Speaking of Research try to keep on top of the latest statistics coming from governments around the world. This post will look at the 2016 statistical releases in Poland and Finland.

Finland

Finland reported that 105,615 procedures were conducted on animals in 2016, a 9% rise from 2015.

According to statistics provided by Finnish authorities (but not required by the EU), 168,548 animals were “bred and euthanized without procedures”. This figure is likely to include both surplus animals bred, and animals bred to supply tissue samples for in vitro studies (but not genetically altered and not undergoing any procedure).

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Animals used in research in Finland in 2016. Click to Enlarge

The rise in numbers mainly comes from the increases in mice (+16%) and birds (104%). This is the second year in which the number of birds used has doubled. Proportionally, Finland uses more dogs than in most countries – 3.8% vs around 0.5% in other EU countries. However, on closer inspection, it turns out that 3,582 procedures were taking blood samples from pet dogs to study genes involved in canine diseases, and 244 procedures were pet dogs participating in (veterinary) patient studies, leaving only 135 dogs used in laboratory settings (nearly all in toxicity and safety tests, nearly all of which were of mild severity). Similarly, all 259 procedures on cats were blood samples from pet cats to study genes involved in feline diseases.

Most research was conducted on mice (66%), rats (12%) fish (10%) or birds (7%), together accounting for 95% of all research procedures. No primates were used.

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Trend over time in animals used in research in Finland. Click to Enlarge.

Over the last decade, the number of animal procedures in Finland has been falling, approximately halving over ten years. Given the relatively small numbers of animals used in Finland (numerous US and UK universities use more animals in a year than all Finnish institutions put together), changes in overall numbers can be the result of just a handful of studies starting or finishing.

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Severity of animal research procedures in the Finland in 2016

Finland, like all EU countries, reports the severity of every procedure after they have been completed. Mild and non-recovery accounted for 61.3% of procedures (60.3% in 2015), moderate was 30.1% (down from 33.9% in 2015) and severe was 8.5% (up from 5.8% in 2015). All but one severe procedure was on mice and rats (the last was on pigs).

Finally, 41.1% of procedures involved genetically altered animals (mostly mice and fish), 58.9% did not.

Source of Finnish Statistics: http://www.laaninhallitus.fi/lh/etela/hankkeet/ellapro/home.nsf/pages/BFD5CAFA94D8E7C7C225728A00475B11?opendocument

See previous years’ reports:

Mice are the most common species of animal used in both Finland and Poland.

Poland

Poland reported 184,489 procedures on animals in 2016, a 6% rise from the previous year. It should be noted that while we compare to 2015, there were numerous issues relating to that statistical release and as a result these “changes from 2015” should be taken with a pinch of salt.

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Animals used in research in Poland in 2016. Click to Enlarge

The biggest rise has been in fish, which rose 266% from 2015. This was slightly offset by falls in mice (-3%), rats (-10%) and birds (-38%).

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93% of all research in Poland is on mice, rats, birds and fish – similar to most other EU countries. Prcoedures on dogs and cats together add up to less than 0.05% of research (85 procedures), and there were no procedures on primates.

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Trend over time in animals used in research in Poland. Click to Enlarge.

There appears to be a downward trend in animal research over the last six years, though errors in previous data should mean that readers should take figures with a pinch of salt. Like Finland, given the relatively small numbers of animals used in Poland (numerous US and UK universities use more animals in a year than all Polish institutions put together), changes in overall numbers can be the result of just a handful of studies starting or finishing.

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Severity of animal research procedures in the Poland in 2016. The total number of procedures is higher than previously mentioned as it includes 1,210 animals that had already been involved in previous studies.

Poland reports the severity of every procedure after they have been completed. Mild and non-recovery accounted for 51%% of procedures, moderate was 26%  and severe was 23%. The proportion of severe experiments is higher than in most other EU countries. This may be a result of slightly different guidelines currently in Poland for classifying severity.

Source of Polish Statistics: http://www.bip.nauka.gov.pl/sprawozdania_zwierzeta/

See previous years’ reports:

zebrafish

There was a threefold increase in the number of fish used in Poland in 2016

Canada sees rise in animal research numbers in 2016

The Canadian Council on Animal Care is the national peer-review organization responsible for setting, maintaining, and overseeing the implementation of high standards for animal ethics and care in science throughout Canada.  Yesterday it released the 2016 statistics describing the numbers and species of animals utilized in science.  It shows that 4,308,921 animals were used in research in 2016. The report also included statistics regarding the purpose and severity of the research procedures.

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Animals used in research in Canada in 2016. Click to Enlarge

CCAC certified institutions utilized 4,308,921 animals in 2016, representing a 20.7% increase over 2015.  While the vast majority of Canadian institutions report animal use numbers to the CCAC, it is unclear if the general trend of increasing animal use number is reflective of an actual increase in the number of animals participating in studies or rather that more institutions are participating in the CCAC certification process.  Further information on the CCAC can be found here.

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Fish were the most utilized species representing 1,602,547 (37.2%) of all animals.  This was consistent with the 2014 data but a change for the 2015 statistics that saw mice as the primary species.  Mice still saw a 7% increase to 1,500,156 (34.8%) animals.  While different from many other countries cattle maintain their position as the third most reported species with 526,249 (12.2%).

Fish, mice and cattle together represent 84.2%, with rats and birds making up a further 10.2%. Dogs (15,093), cats (8,526) and primates (7,556) together continue to represent less than 0.8% of all animals used in science in Canada.  It is worthwhile noting that these numbers also include 30 cephalopod invertebrates but do not include other invertebrate animals that are also extensively used in research, such as the fruit fly Drosophila Melanogaster and nematode worms.

Trends

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The trend over time in animals used in research in Canada. Click to Enlarge.

Animal studies have been increasing steadily among CCAC members over the past twenty years – more than doubling over the time period. This may reflect similar increases in biomedical research funding by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR is not the only organization funding biomedical research in Canada).

Severity

Severity of Animal Procedures in Cananda - Animal Experiments 2016 Table

Severity of animal research in the Canada in 2016. Total number of procedures is higher than number of animals due to reused animals being counted more than once.

In comparison to the 2015 statistics, there was an overall total percentage increase of 7.4% to 38.5% of animals in the lowest severity category.  This category would include the breeding or animals that were anesthetized and did not wake from procedures.  Animals experiencing mild severity (ie. a blood sample or injection) saw a drop of 6.6% to 30.8%.  While animals representing moderate (ie. surgery with appropriate pain control) and severe (ie. pain-related research) remained relatively consistent at 28.5% and 2.2% respectively.  The purpose of animal experiments was for basic research (57.2%); development of products or appliances for human or veterinary medicine (14.1%); studies into human and animal diseases or disorders (12.9%); education and training (9.7%); and finally regulatory tests (“animal testing”) (6.1%).

Michael Brunt

Source of Canadian Statistics: https://www.ccac.ca/en/news-and-events/news/2017/explore-the-ccac-animal-data-report-2016.html

See previous years’ reports:

Animal Research Statistics in Austria, Hungary and Slovenia

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 2016 statistics. All three are regulated by EU Directive 2010/63 which requires countries to produce national statistics on their animal use.

Austria

Austria reported 236,459 procedures on animals in 2016, a 4% rise on the previous year.

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Procedures on animals in Austria for research in 2016. Click to Enlarge

The rise in animal experiments appears to be mainly due to large increases in the number of birds (mainly chickens) used (up 116%), other mammals (up 89%; mainly pigs) and rats (up 23%).

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The vast majority of research was conducted on mice (81.2%), with rabbits (6.2%) and fish (4.4%) the next most common species. 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 (4% of total). No primates were used in Austria in 2016 (or the previous two years) and dogs and cats accounted for less than 0.08% of all animals used despite the rises in the number of procedures for the former.

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

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.

This year was the third year where there were 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 were similar to previous years, suggesting the system has been well understood. The report showed that 2.5% as non-recovery (4% in 2015) , 63% of procedures were classed as mild (60% in 2015), 27.5% as moderate (24% in 2015), and 7.3% as severe (down from 12% in 2015).

Finally the statistics note that 41.4% of procedures involved genetically altered animals. These were mainly mice and zebrafish, but also included rats and other fish.

See previous reports:

Hungary

Hungary reported 170,075 procedures on animals in 2016, a 7.9% fall on the previous year.

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Procedures on animals in Hungary for research in 2016. Click to Enlarge

The fall in animal experiments appears to be mainly due to falls in the number of procedures on birds (down 5%), rats (down 9%), reptiles and amphibians (down 25%) and fish (down 72%).

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Together, mice, rats and birds account for 84% of all procedures in Hungary, this figure rises to over 95% when fish, reptiles, amphibians and guinea pigs are included. The use of primates went from 3 in 2015, down to 0 in 2016 (presumably after a specific study ended). Dogs and cats accounted for less than 0.4% of all animals used.

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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 175,000 in 2016. 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.

This year was the third year where there were 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 19% as non-recovery (8% in 2015) , 49% of procedures were classed as mild (71% in 2015), 24% as moderate (15% in 2015), and 8.2% as severe (up from 6% in 2015).

Lastly, of note, only 4.7% of animal procedures were on genetically altered animal (up from 2.8% in 2015) – a much lower proportion than, say, the UK, where almost half of procedures were the breeding of a genetically altered animal.

See previous reports:

Slovenia

Slovenia reported 6,819 procedures on animals in 2016, a 25% fall on the previous year.

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Procedures on animals in Sloevnia for research in 2016. Click to Enlarge

The main changes was a 24% fall in the use of mice. This is particularly noteworthy given the 22% fall between 2014 and 2015. Neither fish nor horses were used in 2016 (there were 57 and 2 procedures respectively). The only rise was in pigs which went from 8 procedures to 32 in 2016.

As is the case in many smaller countries (but not all), most of the research was animal testing for regulatory purposes (66%), followed by translational and applied research (26%) and basic research (6%).

See previous reports:

That’s all for today but we will endeavor to provide the latest statistics as they are published by national governments. All our statistics can be found on the Statistics Overview page.

Animal experiments in the UK decline by 5% in 2016

The UK Home Office has published the 2016 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 2016 there were 3.94 million procedures carried out, down 5% from 2015 (4.14 million).

While we often describe these statistics as being for the UK, they do not include Northern Ireland (who carried out 22,508 procedures in 2015), and so are technically the figures for Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales).

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Procedures on animals in Great Britain for research in 2016. Click to Enlarge

Overall, 96.6% of animals used in scientific studies were mice, rats, fish or birds. Dogs, cats and primates (which are offered special protections under UK law) together accounted for 0.22% of the total (similar to in previous years). The statistics also reveal that almost half of all experiments (48.6%) were the breeding of GM animals which were not used in further experiments – this is almost identical to 2014 and 2015. Overall, 64.9% (almost two thirds) of all experiments involved genetically modified animals, this was down from 67% in 2015.

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 the number of animals used in research appears to be flattening out after almost two decades of rising numbers. It should be noted that the Home Office reported in 2015 that it believes there were statistical errors in the 2014 report as a result of new counting methodologies, but that this has been ironed out for 2015 and 2016.

The last five years appears to show animal experiments remaining relatively constant around 4 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 fell slightly from 3,612 procedures in 2015, to 3,569 (down 1%) in 2016. The number of procedures on cats fell by 19 to 190 procedures and on dogs rose to 4,932.

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 third 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 2016. We can see most experiments are sub threshold (38%; less than the introduction of a hypodermic needle), non-recovery (4%; the animal never awakes from anaesthesia) or mild (38%), with remainder as moderate (16%), or severe (3.9%) Overall the proportion of moderate and severe rose from 18.2% in 2015 to 19.9% in 2015 (though numbers in severe category fell). Also of note in the severity data is the rising proportion of sub-threshold experiments in the creation/breeding of genetically modified animals from 45% in 2014, to 55% in 2015, to 65% in 2016, suggesting improving methods.

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Severity of animal research in the UK in 2016

Other things to note in the UK statistics:

  • 48.6% of procedures were for the creation and breeding of genetically altered animals (not used in other experiments), 28.5% were for basic research, 13.5% was for regulatory purposes and 8.6% was translational/applied research [Table 1]
  • Over the experimental procedures, 64% of the “severe” experimental procedures were conducted on mice for regulatory purposes. 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]
  • 49.2% of procedures were conducted in universities and medical schools, 25.3% were in commercial organisations (e.g. pharmaceuticals), 13.2% were done at non-profit making organisations (e.g. medical research charities), and 12.2% 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.

For animal research statistics of countries around the world please see our statistics page.

Source of UK Statistics: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statistics-of-scientific-procedures-on-living-animals-great-britain-2016

See previous years’ reports:

Speaking of Research

Switzerland’s animal research in numbers for 2016

The statistics for animal research conducted in Switzerland in 2016 were released today. We have translated these tables to English and these data are summarized below. Overall, there were 629,773 animals used in research and animal testing in Switzerland in 2016 — a 7.7% decrease compared to the previous year.

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Animal research in Switzerland for 2016 by species [Click to Enlarge]

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Animal research in Switzerland by species and use.
* We have added a column titled Total 2015 to aid with the ease of comparison to the previous year.

According to the Federal Veterinary Office, the BLV, this decrease is “mainly due to the completion of various projects with a large number of fish and amphibians”. Most of these animals were involved in basic research (64.4%), with “discovery, development and quality control” being the next most common (19.4%). 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 (65.19%).

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97.1% of the animals used in research and testing was conducted on mice, rats, fish, and birds, similar to other European countries. Monkeys (198), cats (411) and dogs (616) together accounted for 0.2% of all research animals, with an overall decrease of 2553 animals from 2015 for these species.

Severity in Switzerland works in the follow way (Translated definitions of the severity grading procedure for animals used in experiments in Switzerland):

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

  • Severity grade 0: no constraint: Procedures and actions performed on animals for experimental purposes that do not inflict pain, sufffering or harm on the animals, engendr 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 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-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: severeconstraint: 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 impairement of general well-being

Pain, suffering and harm, were also measured and classified under four grades of severity; 0, 1, 2 and 3. In 2016, 38% of experiments were Grade 0, 31% were Grade 1, 21% were Grade 2 and 2% were Grade 3.

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Severity of animal experiments by species, 2016

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Severity grade data are only available from 1997 onwards

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.

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Overall there has been a steady downward trend in the number of animals used in research in Switzerland over the last 30 years.

See details of Switzerland’s 2015 statistics.

 

Jeremy D. Bailoo

USDA publishes 2016 animal research statistics – 7% rise in animal use

The USDA/APHIS has published the 2016 animal research statistics. Overall, the number of animals (covered by the Animal Welfare Act) used in research in the US rose 6.9% from 767,622 (2015) to 820,812 (2016). This includes both public and private institutions.

These statistics do not include all animals as most mice, rats, and fish are not covered by the Animal Welfare Act – though they are still covered by other regulations that protect animal welfare. We also have not included the 137,444 animals which were kept in research facilities in 2016 but were not involved in any research studies.

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Click to Enlarge

The statistics show that 52% of research is on guinea pigs, hamsters and rabbits, 10% is on farm animal species, while 11% is on dogs or cats and 9% on non-human primates. In the UK, where mice, rats, fish and birds are counted in the annual statistics, over 97% of research is on rodents, birds and fish. Across the EU, which measures animal use slightly differently, 93% of research is on species not counted under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). If similar proportions were applied the US, the total number of vertebrates used in research in the US would be between 12 and 27 million, however, there are no published statistics to confirm this.

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Comparing the 2015 and 2016 statistics there has been a small rise in the use of most species, apart from dogs (down 0.2%) and cats (down 5.2%). The largest rises were found in non-human primates (up 15%) and sheep (up 14%). Furthermore, it should be noted that this 6.9% rise comes a year after an 8% fall, putting the total number of animals used in 2016 slightly below the levels in 2014.

Animals used in researchand testing in the US 1973 - 2016

Trend in number of animals used in research in the US, 1973 – 2016 – Click to Enlarge

There has been a general downward trend in the number of animals used in the US over the past three decades; the number of animals used has more than halved (from 1.8million in 1986), with the use of dogs and cats down by over 65%. It is likely that a move towards using more genetically altered mice and fish has reduced the numbers of many other AWA-covered animals used. That said, non-human primates are one of the few species to have risen in use, from an average of 54,000 animals per year from 1977-2006, to 67,000 in 2007-2016.

In the UK, where mice, rats, fish and birds are counted in the annual statistics, over 97% of research is on rodents, birds and fish. Across the EU, which measures animal use slightly differently, 93% of research is on species not counted under the Animal Welfare Act. If similar proportions were applied the US, the total number of vertebrates used in research in the US would be between 12 and 27 million.

Rises and falls in the number of animals used reflects many factors including the level of biomedical activity in a country, trending areas of research, changes to legislations at home and abroad, outsourcing research to and from other countries, and new technologies (which may either replace animal studies or create reasons for new animal experiments).

The annual statistics are one example of openness and transparency in animal research, but the last few years have seen a greater number of institutions from all over the world publically acknowledging their animal research in statements on their website. This week, two separate openness initiatives were announced, with Americans for Medical Progress launching their “Come See Our World” website of free-to-use animal research images, and Understanding Animal Research promoting a 3D tour of four animal facilities in the UK.

Using the virtual tour you walk around real research facilities like this one at the University of Oxford.

On the subject of openness, it was disappointing that neither the USDA, nor APHIS decided to press release the figures when they were released on June 7th 2017, or even mention them in the website’s News and Announcements. The US could follow the past example of the UK, where the Home Office, in conjunction with the Science Media Centre, held a press conference each year to announce the annual statistics and to offer experts to explain and discuss the numbers.

Source of US Statistics:

Speaking of Research Coverage:

We will continue to bring you the latest national statistics as and when they are released.

Speaking of Research

Animal experiments in Israel rise by 51% in 2016

Israel used 507,018 animals for research and testing on animals in 2016 according to statistics released by The Ministry of Health’s Council for Animal Experimentation. This represents a 51% rise on 2015 – with the increase mainly due to a fourteen-fold increase in the number of cold-blooded mammals used (99% fish).

Testing on Animals in Israel for research in 2016. Click to Enlarge

There were moderate decreases in the number of rabbits, but the huge increase came from cold-blood animals, up from 12,784 in 2015 to 180,253 in 2016. According to the chairman of the National Council for Animal Experimentation, Prof Jacob Gopas, who spoke to Haaretz:

“If it’s possible to use fish, you don’t use mice, for example, and if it’s possible to use mice then you don’t use pigs,” Gopas says. Both the move toward using fish rather than mice in experiments and the efforts being made to raise fish with as few diseases as possible have contributed to the spike in the number of fish being used. Gopas notes that the vast majority of the fish used in research, 154,000 of the 178,000 that were used last year, were returned to their previous habitats.

No cats or dogs have been used in experiments in Israel since 2012. Primate numbers have edged up, increasing from 42 to 46 in 2016, though this is still less than 0.01% of total animal numbers. Primate experiments were under threat in 2014, resulting in seven Nobel Laureates, and seven major universities writing to President Netanyahu urging him not to further restrict animal studies.

Animals used in research in Israel in 2016. Click to Enlarge

Mice are still the most commonly used species in Israel, accounting for 51% of total animal numbers. Fish are the next most common at 35% (36% when other cold-blooded mammals are included). Rats and birds take the next two slots, with 8% and 4% respectively.

Trends in Israeli animal experiments 2004-16. Click to Enlarge.

Historical statistics show that until the spike in 2016, the number of animals has been fairly constant, 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. It appears that the sharp rise in 2016 is due to one or more research projects specifically working with fish – that account for most of the 170 thousand rise in animal numbers.

It should also be noted that Israel works hard to rehabilitate animals used in research. According to Israel Hayom,

The council noted that in 2016, its post-testing animal rehabilitation rate for monkeys, carnivores, farm animals and wildlife, excluding rodents and poultry, stood at 88%.

“The rates of animal rehabilitation in Israel are outstanding by any standard. Israel has been a leader in this field for years compared with the data published worldwide,” the council said, adding that it has so far funded nine projects aimed at developing methods that would minimize animal testing by finding alternatives that would not compromise research studies.

More information (in Hewbrew) can be found about the severity of animal experiments in Israel in 2016. The statistics show that 14% of projects were categorised as severe, 31% as moderate, 28% as mild, 18% as below mild, and 9% killed humanely for the purpose of collecting organs (not all countries collect this data). It is likely that projects are estimated at or above the actual severity level, and researchers would be in breach of protocol if they exceed their estimated severity.

Check out all the latest international statistics on our Animal Research Statistics page.

Speaking of Research

monkey animal experiment playing

Monkey on an Israeli primate breeding facility

Sources: