Animal research in Germany
The statistics published by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, (BMEL) indicate that 2.854,261 animals were used for research purposes in Germany in 2016. The new statistics include animals used in research procedures as well as for alternative methods, e.g. for obtaining cells for cell cultures
41 percent of the animals were used in basic research. The proportion of rodentns, mostly mice and rats, accounts for about 80 percent for all animals used in research. Eleven percent were fish, three percent were rabbits, and 0,09 percent primates. Across all species, the number of procedures with genetically modified animals accounts for 42 percent.
Statistics at the Max Planck Institutes
In 2016, a total of 378.811 animals were used for research purposes at Max Planck Institutes. Rodents accounted for the biggest proportion at 69 percent (mice and rats), followed by fish (29 percent). Other animal groups, such as birds (2 percent), were used to a much lesser extent at the Max Planck Institutes. The Max Planck Society uses significantly more fish in its research activities than the federal average (2015: 7.2 percent), thus meeting a provision of the German Animal Welfare Act according to which the lowest possible vertebrate species should be deployed if it will suffice for the research purpose. The high proportion of fish is also explained by their importance in basic research. The zebra fish, in particular, is an extremely important model organism in molecular and developmental biology and in neuroscience.
Non-human primates account for a negligible proportion of 0.006 percent of all research animals used at the Max Planck Institutes.
Severity of procedures
In 2016, the majority of procedures carried out were categorized as being mild (69 percent); the proportion of moderate procedures was 10 percent. Only 0.26 percent of procedures were categorized as being severe. The proportion of procedures carried out under general anaesthesia from which the animals did not recover was 22 percent.