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Spanish laboratories conducted 836,096 animal experiments in 2018, 33,000 more than in 2017 – Health Insurance





The Spanish laboratories carried out in 2018 a total of 836,096 experiments in which animals were used, compared to the 802,976 that were made the previous year, according to a report from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food corresponding to 2018 to which EP has had access. In total it has increased by 33,000 more cases In just one year.

The report reflects how many times animals have been used, not the number of animals used and reveals that of the 836,096 experimental uses of the past year, the animals were first used in 94.19% of the cases (822,165 experiments).

According to the report, all uses of animals for scientific and experimental purposes, most were with mice (61.98%), followed by fish (10.64%) and poultry (9.53%), although rats (6.36%) and rabbits (2.69%) were also used and, to a lesser extent measure cats (0.03%), dogs (0.14%), horses and donkeys (0.02%), pigs (1.43%), reptiles (0.02%) and cephalopods (0.47%), among others. And in 274 experiments were used primates.

Also, the use of « Other » animal species (other mammals, other birds, other fish) represents more than 11% of total uses in 2018 in Spain, which represents a «Remarkable increase» with respect to previous years.

Increase fish utilization

According to the report, the number of uses of mammals in 2018 with respect to previous years has not been modified « substantially », however, relative variations in the use of fish, amphibians, reptiles and cephalopods.

Regarding the use of fish, « a relatively large number of individuals » were used in experiments, while amphibian experimentation remains stable and the use of reptiles has had a « seemingly significant variation » due to the small number of centers that they use them, going from 1,003 a year ago to 192 in 2018.

However, the use of cephalopods It has increased from year to year by the development of several lines of disease research, and for greater knowledge of its biology and reproduction. In 2018 there were 3,919 experiments in which cephalopods were used, compared to the 20 uses of 2017.

In addition, in 47.70% of the cases, the animals were used for basic research experiments, followed by translational and applied research (27.46%) and regulatory use and routine production (14.24%). To a lesser extent, they were used for experiments on the protection of the natural environment in the interest of the health or well-being of humans or animals (0.75%) or species preservation (0.06%).

5% of the animals did not recover

The report also collects data on the severity to which they have been subjected the animals in the course of the procedures in which they have been used (degree of pain, stress or suffering).

Thus, of the 836,096 uses, 4.75% were experiments in which animals did not regain consciousness after undergoing it; 52.12% was mild; 35.90% moderate; and in 7.22% of the cases it was severe.

On the other hand, in more than 34% of cases were used genetically altered animals (both without and with pathological phenotype), compared to 36.15% the previous year.