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Animals used for scientific purposes

EU statistical data on the use of animals for scientific purposes

In line with Directive 2010/63/EU the Commission will make publicly available EU level statistical information on the use of animals for scientific purposes, collected by the Member States and submitted to the Commission on an annual basis.

For the first time statistical information is collected at EU level not only on the scientific uses of animals for the purposes of research and testing (including animals used for routine production and for the purposes of education and training), but also on the scientific uses for the creation and maintenance of genetically altered animal lines in support of research needs. Equally, it is the first time that full datasets are available for each use of an animal, allowing for a much more precise reporting. The new reports will also include aspects of animal use, which have not previously been available, for example, on the genetic status of animals and the actual severity experienced by the animals during their use in procedures.

Therefore, any comparisons with the previous reports are limited to the numbers of animals used for the first time for the purposes of research and testing, routine production, education and training. Even here the comparison is not simple because invertebrate species were not included in the past reports; some routine production was not reported by all Member States, and the previous reports included partly animals that were used for the creation of genetically altered animal lines, now reported separately. Therefore, a comparison between 2011 and current numbers of animals can only be an estimate.

The objective of these new reports is to structure all these data for an improved understanding of when and how animals are still used in science today. It is hoped that, in line with the Directive aims, this way of reporting will facilitate the identification of animal use areas on which efforts for the development and validation of alternative approaches can be focused.

EU statistical reports from 2015

The first EU summary report, under Directive 2010/63/EU, on the statistics on the use of animals for scientific purposes by the Member States of the Union covers data from three years, 2015-2017. The legal basis and data categories can be found here.

EU Statistical data until 2011 - Background and templates

Until 2011, statistical reports were compiled under previous legislation, Directive 86/609/EEC, which did not specify a common format nor the level of detail for the data collection. In 1997, some level of harmonisation was achieved when representatives of Member States agreed, voluntarily, to implement a standardised set of eight tables. Furthermore, the number of Member States increased significantly between 1991 and 2011. Therefore, the data presented in these reports are not directly comparable. Apart from the first three, the statistical reports were accompanied by more detailed Staff Working Documents.

Link to the templates under Directive 86/609/EEC and to the rationale behind different tables.

Link to the Glossary of terms that was created to give explanations of the table and column headings, with appropriate comments, where necessary.

EU statistical reports until 2011