Fall in EU-wide animal research numbers
The EU has released the Seventh Report in which it provides the number of animals used by member states in 20111. It shows that the total number of animals used fell by more than half a million.
In 2011, 11.5 million animals were used in basic and applied research across the EU, a 4.2% drop from the previous year. Mice and rats accounted for 75% of all animals used, rising to over 87% when fish, amphibians and reptiles are included.
There were large drops in the number of primates used compared with the 2008 statistics. The number of new world monkeys fell by 22.5% (from 904 to 700). Old world monkeys fell 28% (from 7,404 to 5,312). Prosimians fell 94% (by 1,178).
No great apes have been used in the EU since 1999.
Primates remain important to research into neurodegenerative conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, which are becoming increasingly prevalent in ageing developed countries. They are also used to test the safety and efficacy of new biological treatments such as drugs to treat cancer and auto-immune diseases.
Approximately 57.5% of the total animals used were for studies in animal and human disease. The percentages into different diseases can be seen above. Animals have played a key part in the treatment of many diseases such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. The HPV vaccine against cervical cancer was developed using animals including rabbits and cattle, the breast cancer drug Herceptin is a humanised protein found in mice, and deep brain stimulation was developed using primates.
Since 2009 there has been a ban on testing ingredients for cosmetics products on animals. In 2013, the EU implemented a ban on the sale of any product whose ingredients or final product had been tested on animals.
Notes to Editor:
1. The results are from 2011 with the exception of France which provided data from 2010
2. The Seventh Report can be found here: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2013:0859:FIN:EN:PDF
3. All pie charts taken from the EU’s Seventh Report on animals in research (link below)