New figures suggest upwards trend in animal experiments

The first report bringing together figures on animal testing from 25 EU Member States reveals that 12.1 million animals were used for experimental or other scientific purposes during 2005.

Looking at figures for the EU 15 in isolation reveals a 3.1% increase in the number of animals used between 2002 and 2005 (France was the only country not to provide statistics from 2005;
figures from 2004 are included in their place). The number of animals used in the 10 Member States that joined the EU in 2004 (EU 10) represent 8.6% of the animals used in the EU 25.

As in previous reports, rodents and rabbits represented the majority of laboratory animals (78%). Mice are by far the most commonly used species, accounting for 53% of total use, followed by
rats at 19%.

The second most used group of animas was, as in previous years, cold-blooded animals, which represent 15% of the animals used. The third largest group was birds, used in a little over 5% of
experiments. As in 2002, no Great Apes were used for experimental purposes in the EU in 2005. But just over 10,000 primates were used – slightly more than in 2002.

The major change in terms of species used has been an increase of around 579,000 mice (10.6%). However, alongside the increase in mice was a decrease in the numbers of rats, hamsters and other
rodents used (36%).

France reported using the highest number of animals (2,325,398), followed by the UK (1,874,207) and Germany (1,822,424). At around the 900,000 mark came Greece next, followed by Italy.

Testing in France and the UK rose by 5% and 3% respectively, while Germany cut its testing by 12%.

The number of animals used in cosmetics testing increased by 50% to 5,571, despite an EU directive banning the use of animals for cosmetics testing. All Member States must comply by 2009.
Almost all of the cosmetics testing occurred in France.

The majority of animal experiments fell within the category of fundamental biology studies (33%), followed by research for human and veterinary medicine and dentistry (31%) and then the
production and quality control of human medicine and dentistry (11.8%). The most significant change since the 2002 report is the drop in animals used for ‘toxicological and other safety
evaluation’ studies from around 9.9% to 8%. As the new report also includes figures for the EU 10, a significant overall downward trend can be identified.

The report will be presented to the Council and to the European Parliament.

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