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General

Laboratory animal statistics in Germany

The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture publishes an annual report on the use of animals in science. This includes, amongst others, animals in basic research (accounting to almost 50%), translational/applied research (15%) as well as animals used for regulatory purposes and routine production (27%). In 2017, more than 2.8 million animals were used in animal experiments and sacrificed in the name of science, including mice (accounting to 70%), rats (11%), fish (11%), rabbits (4%), hamsters, cats, dogs, monkeys, pigs, cattle, and many other animal species. Compared to 2016, the total number of laboratory animals decreased by approximately 47.000 individuals. 

Since 1989, the number of experimental animals decreased from 2.6 million to 1.5 million in 1997, the lowest figure ever. Ever since, the number of laboratory animals has risen dramatically with the largest number of more than 3 million in 2014.

Of note, the official report does not include all laboratory animals. Animals killed as “surplus” during breeding procedures are not included in the statistics. The number of these animals does by far exceed the number of individuals finally used as cohorts for experimental studies as these experimental groups are matched by gender age and genetic background. Animals not used in experiments are often killed and not included in the statistics. Furthermore, invertebrates (with the exception of octopuses) are not counted.

Statistics on the number of animals used in animal experiments in Germany in 2017, including animals used in experimental procedures and animals killed for scientific purposes:

 Species No. of animals 
 Mice 1,963,337 
 Rats 316,397 
 Guinea-pigs 15,455 
 Hamsters 1,302 
 Other rodents  15,963 
 Rabbits 94,816 
 Cats 718 
 Dogs 3,334 
 Ferrets 220 
 Other carnivores 535 
 Horses, donkeys 1,225 
 Pigs 18,221 
 Goats 338 
 Sheep 3,084 
 Cattle  6,357 
 Non-human primates 3,525 
 Other mammals  1,570 
 Domestic fowl 37,292 
 Other birds  12,682 
 Reptiles  528 
 Frogs 393 
 Xenopus  6,581 
 Other amphibians 3,391 
 Zebra fish 174,611 
 Other fish 125,422 
 Octopus
 Total 2,807,297 

   
Reference: Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection

Downloads

Laboratory animal statistics in Germany 2017

Laboratory animal statistics in the EU 2011