31. May 2023

Number of animal experiments down significantly since 2018.

The number of animal experiments in Germany has continued to decrease in the past. In the Federal Republic of Germany in 2021 it was down by about 12% under the figures of 2018. Also, in Mecklenburg-Pomerania, the home state of PRIMACYT, the numbers of animal experiments fell since 2018 continuously and significantly more than the national average. While 51,275 laboratory animals were used in 2018, this number was only 32,063 in 2021. This corresponds to a decrease of almost 40%, according to the publication “Kompaß Tierversuche” by the editorial team “Tierversuche verstehen”. No dogs, cats or monkeys were used in animal experiments.

Genetically modified animals, usually mice and zebrafish, are becoming increasingly important. Their share of experimental animals in Germany was 52% in 2021. In 2021, the statistics for the first time also included animals that could not be used. The percentage of animals killed under general anesthesia increased slightly. About 6% of all animals were killed under general anesthesia, e. g. for organ and tissue removal, also for cell cultures, i. e. the development and use of alternative methods according to the 3R (replace, reduce, refine) principle. “This shows that primary cell cultures become more and more an important tool in biomedical and environmental research applications” said Dieter Runge, Managing Director of PRIMACYT. “This is a strategy PRIMACYT has followed since its foundation in 2004. It was highlighted in 2013 when the European Union appointed PRIMACYT as a reference laboratory for the validation of alternative methods (EU-NETVAL).” 

As everywhere in Germany, most animal experiments in Mecklenburg-Pomerania were carried out with mice. Compared to 2020, the number of mice used in 2021 increased by about 11% to 17,551, while the number of birds increased by about 27% to 1,370 animals. On the other side, there were very significant decreases in livestock (down 59% to 1,599 animals), rabbits (down 48% to 774 animals) and fish (down 34% to 8,658 animals). Overall, in 2021 more animals in Mecklenburg- Pomerania were used in the areas of wildlife conservation and environmental protection than in the years before. 

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