How many animals are killed by tests?

Statistics on laboratory animals

The "consumption" of animals for scientific purposes in Germany increased by 77,282 animals compared to the previous year: in 2019, a total of 2.902.348 Vertebrates and cephalopods (octopuses and cuttlefish) used for scientific purposes.

We criticize the high number of animals that are sacrificed for science and once again call on the German government to develop a strategy on how animal experiments can be completely replaced in the long term by methods that do not involve animal experiments, thus taking into account the ultimate goal of the EU Animal Experiments Directive.

Which animals were used for scientific purposes in 2019?

  • Mice: more than 2 million
  • Fish: over 390,000 (42 % more than last year)
  • Rats: over 270,000
  • Rabbits: just under 94,679
  • Dogs: 3,527
  • Monkeys: 3,443 (3 % more than in the previous year)
  • Cats: 954 (20 % more than last year)
  • various other animal species

At least it is encouraging that 13,106 fewer animals than in the previous year suffered the highest degree of pain, suffering and damage, although the number in 2019 was still alarmingly high at 111,596 animals. Examples of the greatest severity are xenotransplants (organ transplants from one animal species to another) or breeding-related genetic disorders that are associated with severe suffering.

In almost a million animals, genetic information has been manipulated in order to make them artificially ill or more similar to humans. This continues the worrying development of the last year, which unfortunately shows that researchers play with the genome of animals with constant enthusiasm.

What was the purpose of the animal experiments in 2019?

  • Basic research: 47%
  • Manufacturing or quality control of medical products: 22%
  • Research into diseases of humans and animals: 13%
  • (Maintenance) breeding of genetically modified animals: 9%
  • Nature and environmental protection: 7%
  • Education or training: 2%

Similar to the previous year, almost half of the animals used in animal experiments (47 percent) served purely basic research, i.e. in experiments without any specific or foreseeable benefit for humans. Another 22 percent was used in the manufacture or quality control of medical products or for toxicological safety tests, such as those required for chemicals or pesticides.

Statistical evaluation problems

Unfortunately, many animals are not taken into account in the official statistical analysis in Germany. Due to inadequate planning of the experiments, unrealistic claims, a lack of needs testing or time delays, laboratory animals are "produced" in excess in the laboratories and often simply killed if, from the researchers' point of view, they do not have the appropriate age, gender or the desired genetic information. They are also known as surplus or surplus animals and appear at least in the number of laboratory animals in the European Union (EU), albeit only as a total for the entire EU and not broken down for the individual member states. These EU-wide figures were published for the first time since 2013 at the beginning of 2020 and list the animal numbers for the years 2015-2017.