Comment: The Fourth EC Report on the Statistics of Laboratory Animal Use: Trends, Recommendations and Future Prospects
Christina Grindon and Nirmala Bhogal
At the beginning of 2005, the European Commission published its fourth report on the statistics of the number of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes. A total of 10.7 million animals were used within the Member States of the European Union (EU) in 2002, an increase of almost a million animals since the 1999 report. France, Germany and the UK continue to be the largest users of animals for scientific purposes, and mice, rats, fish and birds remain the most commonly-used animals. For the first time, all 15 Member States used the standardised “EU tables”, as had been agreed in 1998. This has made it easier to identify areas on which Three Rs initiatives should be focused. Nevertheless, the reporting system still has a number of serious deficiencies. In particular, there are insufficient data on the numbers of animals that are kept or bred for research purposes, the numbers of transgenic animals, and the severity of procedures that are applied.