Tag Archives: Annual Statistics

Great Britain’s biomedical research statistics for 2017 indicate fewer animals used for second consecutive year

The latest figures released by the Home Office show a decrease in the overall use of animals in biomedical research in Great Britain’s public and private institutions.

These statistics for 2017 were presented to the UK Parliament under the terms of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and demonstrate the continuing commitment of the British biomedical sector to openness and transparency about animal research, combined with an ongoing commitment to replace, reduce and refine the use of animals for every project, commonly known as the 3Rs.

The figures show that 3,789,373 experimental procedures were conducted in Great Britain [1] in 2017, 3.7% fewer than in 2016. Over 96% of the procedures on animals involved mice, fish, rats and birds while cats, dogs and non-human primates accounted for less than 0.2% of studies.

There was a significant fall in the number of procedures on dogs (3847 procedures) and on primates (2960 procedures), the lowest number for over 40 years for both species.

Half of all procedures were the creation or breeding of genetically altered (GA) animals that were not used in further experiments – these fell by 1%. Meanwhile the number of experimental procedures fell by 7%. Experimental procedures include basic and applied research, and regulatory studies aimed at making ensuring product safety.

Commenting on the figures, EARA Executive Director Kirk Leech said: “Behind each statistic is the story of basic research, of work towards combating disease and of improvements in medicine both for humans and animals.

“More and more institutions are openly publishing their own figures on their websites. This move towards greater transparency has been bolstered by the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK, which has been signed by 120 organisations since it launched in 2014. And now we are seeing transparency agreements reached across Europe, in countries such as Spain and Portugal.”

No animals were used for testing cosmetics or their ingredients as this has been illegal in the UK since 1998.

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, Senior Group Leader at The Francis Crick Institute, said: “GA animals are extremely valuable for exploring basic mechanisms of biology, increased understanding of which can lead to better treatments or cures for diseases and for better welfare and quality of life for humans and animals. Once generated, stocks of GA animals need to be maintained by breeding.

“Despite breeding being of no harm for the animals, indeed it is a normal activity that they likely enjoy, this has to be counted as a procedure under the Act. This greatly inflates the number of GA animals that appear in the annual stats, with often very few of them being used for any additional, perhaps invasive procedure.”

The full statistics are available here, at http://eara.eu/en/animal-research/statistics/

END

Notes to editors

About EARA
The European Animal Research Association (EARA) is an organisation that communicates and advocates on biomedical research using animals and provides accurate, evidence-based information. It has more than 70 partner organisations, including private and public research bodies, universities, regional and national biomedical associations and suppliers, across 14 European countries.

EARA’s vision is to enhance the understanding and recognition of research involving animals across Europe, allowing for a more constructive dialogue with all stakeholders and a more efficient climate for research in Europe.

[1] The figures are for Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) excluding Northern Ireland.

Scientists in Europe must take more responsibility for openness, says EARA executive director

Openness and transparency surrounding the use of animals in research is ‘still an Achilles Heel’ for the biomedical sector, a roundtable hosted by the Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM) last week has heard.

Speaking at the meeting, EARA Executive Director, Kirk Leech, said: “The zeitgeist is openness and transparency for the biomedical sector, but this is still an Achilles Heel for many European institutions.”

The meeting in Brussels, brought together high-level representatives from bodies such as the European Brain Council, European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, European Society for Laboratory Animal Veterinarians, Federation of European Neuroscience Societies, Federation for Laboratory Animal Science Associations, and Understanding Animal Research, to discuss how to implement EU Directive 2010/63, on the use of animals in scientific research, as effectively as possible.

Kirk Leech identified a number of areas where the implementation of the Directive could be improved to help a better understanding by the general public, including the presentation of annual animal statistics and the quality of the Non-Technical Summaries, provided when seeking a licence to carry out research using animals.

He added: “Scientists play a key role in openness as the general public is more likely to listen to their opinions above those of healthcare bodies or the activists.

“Yes, the message also needs to be communicated by patient groups and charities, but the biomedical sector is in no position to ask these groups to be open when we are not yet fully open ourselves.”

The roundtable, which included Susanna Louhimies, EU Policy Co-ordinator at DG Environment, agreed that the Directive was the best way to bring about the safe and effective use of animals in scientific research and also discussed how to improve education and training for the biomedical sector, the role of national animal welfare bodies and the reproducibility of study results.

Dutch animal research statistics: 18% more procedures than in 2013

The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (Nederlandse Voedsel- en Warenautoriteit, NVWA) published Zo doende 2014, its annual report of animal research in the Netherlands, yesterday. The number of animals used is 17.9% higher than in 2013. Despite the annual report containing revised numbers for 2013, direct comparison is difficult due to new reporting requirements following on from the European Directive 2010/63/EU. Continue reading

The case for pro-active communications of animal statistics

Every year the United Kingdom’s Home Office (the UK ministerial department of internal affairs) publishes its statistics on animals used in scientific procedures. The statistics are announced at a press briefing at which journalists can question the numbers of animals used and researchers place them in their scientific context. Now a yearly opportunity to openly discuss the need for animals in research, these press briefings were first organised as a counterweight to a negative, one-sided narrative as promoted by anti-animal research activists. Continue reading