Fourth EU report on the statistics on the number of animals used for scientific purposes in 2002 - trends, problems, conclusions

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Ursula G. Sauer , Horst Spielmann, Brigitte Rusche
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In the beginning of the year 2005, the European Commission published the fourth statistical report on the number of laboratory animals used in the EU Member States in the year 2002. A total of 10,731,020 experimental animals was reported, the majority of which were mice, rats and fish. In comparison to 1999, the year of the previous data collection, this is an increase by over 900,000 animals, which is mainly attributed to an increased use in fish. As in the previous years, France, the United Kingdom and Germany were the Member States that reported the highest numbers of laboratory animals. 4.5 million animals were used for the development, production and quality control of products for human medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine and 1 million animals in toxicological and safety evaluations. 3.7 million animals were used in fundamental studies, and therefore are not covered by the scope of Council Directive 86/609/EEC on the protection of laboratory animals. This regulatory gap leaving more than a third of the laboratory animals used in the European Union without protection by EU legislation is unacceptable and should be closed during a revision of the Directive. All national authorities submitted some kind of explanatory notes alongside their national tables. In the article, an extensive summary and discussion of the contents of these notes is presented. Germany, Austria, Finland report on providing financial support for the development of alternative methods. The numbers put forward in the fourth EU statistical show that such support is desperately needed.

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Sauer, U. G., Spielmann, H. and Rusche, B. (2005) “Fourth EU report on the statistics on the number of animals used for scientific purposes in 2002 - trends, problems, conclusions”, ALTEX - Alternatives to animal experimentation, 22(2), pp. 59–67. Available at: (Accessed: 15 June 2024).

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