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Enormous increase in the number of monkeys used in experiments

The latest animal testing figures published by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) show that a total of 4,207,231 animals suffered and died in laboratories in 2022. Doctors Against Animal Experiments (DAAE) sees the consistently high figures as an alarming signal and appeals to politicians to finally commit to phasing out animal testing.

2,437,794 of the 4,207,231 animals were used for scientific purposes. They were either used in animal experiments (1,725,855 animals) or for organ harvesting for research purposes (711,939 animals). Another 1,769,437 so-called “surplus animals” were killed due to lack of use in actual experiments. For a long time, DAAE has been criticizing the killing of these animals that are bred but ultimately "unwanted" as a violation of the Animal Welfare Act, which demands a reasonable cause for killing an animal.

Compared to the previous year, the official number of animals has fallen from 5,058,242 to 4,207,231. This figure includes animals used in animal experiments or for organ harvesting as well as those killed as surplus.

It is often reported that the figures have been falling for years. However, DAAE argues that one cannot speak of a real decline, as the figures remain at a similarly high level. According to the NGO, there is not even a sign of the restriction of animal experiments to a "necessary level" that politicians have been promising for years. The animals that are not even included in the official statistics, but for whose suffering the animal testing industry is clearly responsible are also systematically concealed. These include animals that die during breeding and transportation as well as numerous invertebrates such as insects.

As in previous years, the animals most used are approximately 1.8 million mice, almost 250,000 fish, around 160,000 rats, and more than 62,000 rabbits. In 2022, along with numerous other animal species, 2,267 primates were used, over 300 more than in the previous year. The monkeys are mainly used in toxicity tests or in the neurosciences. The number of dogs increased by 4% to 2,657 compared to 2,560 in the previous year. In addition, 644 cats were used.

56% of the animals can be attributed to fundamental research that, by definition, does not aim at a specific application. 3.6%, or 62,377 animals, were used in animal experiments with a severe level of suffering, 25.4% (438,044 animals) were assigned to the medium severity level, and 66.3% (1,144,668 animals) to the low severity level. It is the applicant's responsibility to indicate the severity level, and the authorities rarely question it. A DAAE evaluation shows that the suffering of the animals is routinely downplayed and even extremely painful experiments are classified as moderately or mildly severe.

Doctors Against Animal Experiments criticizes the responsible politicians  for a "misguided system that clings to outdated and unethical animal research instead of addressing the zeitgeist with modern, human-based, non-animal methods". The reduction strategy envisaged by the German government would merely further consolidate animal testing, whereas other countries already have strategies for a system change, i.e. a clear plan to phase out animal testing.