Animal research

Animal research in Switzerland in 2020 – let’s talk about research

November 12, 2021

We have translated the statistics of animal research carried out in Switzerland in 2020 and these data are summarized below. Overall there was 556,107 animals used for research and animal experimentation in Switzerland in 2020 – a decrease of 2.8% compared to 2019.

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The collection of statistical data on the use of animals is undoubtedly useful for some purposes, but it also has major limitations in terms of informing of a meaningful and serious review of the ethical use of animals in the environment. research. Switzerland’s 2020 statistics are a good example. Why the number of cats used in Switzerland increase by 473% compared to the previous year? No explanation is provided by the FSVO.

Most of these animals were involved in basic research (58%), with “discovery, development and quality control” being the second most common (20%). The rest was used for other reasons, including disease diagnosis, education and training, and environmental protection. Mice were again the most used species (61%).

87% of the animals used in research and testing were carried out on mice, rats, fish and birds, as in other European countries. Primates (190), cats (1472) and dogs (4594), which often receive special attention in the media and by the public, together accounted for 1% of all research animals, with an overall increase of 3,725 animals. compared to 2019 for these species. .

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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
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Pain, suffering and damage were also measured and classified into four degrees of severity; 0, 1, 2 and 3. In 2020, 42% of experiments were grade 0, 28% were grade 1, 26% were grade 2 and 4% were grade 3. These figures are relatively consistent over time, with an average of 70% of all animals exposed to no or minor pain and distress of short duration.

According to the Federal Veterinary Office, the BLV:

The increasing development of Severity 3 has been observed since 2013. As of 2018, this is partly due to the fact that severity levels in individual trials are rated higher than before. Of all the animal experiments in this category, about 94 percent are research into diseases in humans.

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