Animal research

Animal research in Switzerland in 2019 – let’s talk about research

August 24, 2021

We have translated the statistics of animal research carried out in Switzerland in 2019 and these data are summarized below. Overall there was 572,069 animals used for research and animal experimentation in Switzerland in 2019 – a decrease of 2.4% compared to 2018.

According to the Federal Veterinary Office, the BLV, this decrease is “mainly due to the realization of various projects with a large number of fish and amphibians”. Most of these animals were involved in basic research (61%), with “discovery, development and quality control” being the second most common (22%). The rest was used for other reasons, including disease diagnosis, education and training, and environmental protection. Mice were again the most used species (68%).

95% of the animals used in research and testing were carried out on mice, rats, fish and birds, as in other European countries. Primates (234), cats (257) and dogs (2040), which often receive special attention in the media and by the public, together accounted for 0.44% of all research animals, with an overall decrease in 333 animals compared to 2018 for these species. .

Gravity in Switzerland works as follows (Translated definitions of the gravity grading procedure for animals used in experiments in Switzerland):

The following four categories are used for stress on animals resulting from procedures or measurements in animal experiments:

  • Severity Level 0: No Constraint: Procedures and actions performed on animals for experimental purposes which do not inflict pain, suffering or harm on the animals, cause fear or impair their welfare general;
  • Severity level 1: mild stress: procedures and actions performed on animals for experimental purposes which cause pain or slight short-term harm or slight impairment of general well-being;
  • Severity Level 2: Moderate Constraint: Procedures and actions performed on animals for experimental purposes that cause moderate short-term or medium-long-term mild pain, suffering or harm, short-term moderate fear, or impairment severe short or medium term of the general condition. to be;
  • Severity level 3: severe constraint: procedures and actions performed on animals for experimental purposes that cause moderate pain or severe pain in the medium and long term, moderate or severe damage in the medium and long term, severe fear in the long term term or serious deterioration in general condition -being

Pain, suffering and damage were also measured and classified into four degrees of severity; 0, 1, 2 and 3. In 2019, 39% of experiments were grade 0, 30% were grade 1, 28% were grade 2 and 3% were grade 3. These figures are relatively constant over time, with an average of 77% of all animals exposed to no or minor pain and distress of short duration.

The number of animals used for research in Switzerland showed a constant downward trend from 1983 to 1995, the numbers remaining reasonably constant thereafter.