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Animal use for science in Europe
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Mardas Daneshian1, Francois Busquet1, Thomas Hartung1,2,3 and Marcel Leist1,4
1 Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing – Europe, University of Konstanz, Germany;
2 Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA;
3 Johns Hopkins University, Doerenkamp-Zbinden Chair for Evidence-based Toxicology, Baltimore, MD, USA;
4 University of Konstanz, Department of in vitro toxicology and biomedicine, Germany
investigate long-term trends of animal use, the EU animal use statistics from
the 15 countries that have been in the EU since 1995 plus respective data from
Switzerland were analyzed. The overall number of animals used for scientific
purposes in these countries, i.e., about 11 million/year, remained relatively
constant between 1995 and 2011, with net increases in Germany and the UK and
net decreases in Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden.
The relatively low and constant numbers of experimental animals used for safety
assessment (toxicology, 8%) may be due to the particularly intensive research
on alternative methods in this area. The many efficiently working NGOs,
multiple initiatives of the European Parliament, and coordinated activities of
industry and the European Commission may have contributed to keeping the animal
numbers in this field in check.
Basic biological science, and research and development for medicine, veterinary and dentistry together currently make up 65% of animal use in science. Although the total numbers have remained relatively constant, consumption of transgenic animals has increased drastically; in Germany transgenic animals accounted for 30% of total animal use in 2011. Therefore, more focus on alternatives to the use of animals in biomedical research, in particular on transgenic animals, will be important in the future. One initiative designed to provide inter-sector information exchange for future actions is the “MEP – 3Rs scientists pairing scheme” initiated in 2015 by CAAT-Europe and MEP Pietikäinen.
Keywords: animal testing, animal statistics, stem cells, alternative methods, replacement
ALTEX 32(4), 261-274