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Seven years after the last release, the European Commission has again collated and released data on laboratory animal use. The new report is the first to correspond to the requirements of the new Directive 2010/63/EU. Beside minor problems in reporting, the new reporting format is a major step forward, with additional new categories like severity allowing insight into animal use related questions that goes far beyond the previous reports.
An in-depth analysis confirms a slight decrease in animal use from 2015 to 2017, but also compared to the 2005, 2008 and 2011 reports, though the new reporting scheme makes this comparison difficult. Notable success is evident for replacing rabbit pyrogen testing but, in general, the implementation of accepted alternative methods lags behind expectations. Beside the roughly 10 million animals per year covered in the report, about 8 million animals were identified that fall under the Directive but are not included in this number. Their omission downplays the impact of REACH on animal use. The report, second to none in its detail internationally, represents an important instrument for benchmarking and strategically focusing activities in the 3Rs.
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