The Animal Use Statistics 2016 released by the Federal Ministry for Nutrition and Agriculture falsely suggest a dramatic drop in the number of scientific procedures performed on animals (2,189,261) in comparison to the previous year (2,799,961). The table footer reveals that the data for 2016 now no longer include animals killed exclusively for extraction of tissues or organs. Comparison with the number of procedures performed in 2015 is not possible as these are not excluded from the respective 2015 table. Also, the procedures performed on animals for specific purposes such as regulatory use and routine production purposes cannot be compared to the previous year for the same reason.
The total number of animals used for scientific purposes increased by 43,722 to 2,796,773. There was a decrease in the total use of mammals and an increase in the total use of birds (by 30%) and fish (by 52%). The total number of nonhuman primates reported dropped from 2413 to 1791.
The numbers of animals subjected to the severity levels mild, moderate and severe stayed stable at ca. 1.3 million mild, 0.5 million moderate and 114,824 severe experiments although the percentages changed owing to the new mode of calculation, i.e., exclusion of tissue and organ extraction from the category non-recovery. Of the severe experiments, the majority (82,000) were performed for regulatory use and routine production, especially batch potency testing.
The use of genetically modified mice with a harmful phenotype increased by 13,000. Animals used for the maintenance of colonies of genetically modified mice numbered 51,000. The re-use of animals increased from 47,000 to 58,000; these were mostly mice, zebrafish, rats, rabbits and dogs.