How much animal experiments are conducted?

Is the number of animal experiments conducted today lower than in the past?

The number of animals used for animal testing today is much lower than in the 1990s. It is still not possible to replace all animal experiments, but the number of alternative methods being developed is constantly growing. The number of permits is actually rising, since more research is being conducted in Switzerland in general, but fewer animals are being used for every permit (additional details can be found in the animal testing statistics). Some two-thirds of animal tests are approved for the conduct of basic research.

Die 3R-Prinzipien zeigen Wirkung: Die Anzahl Tiere in Tierversuchen hat stark abgenommen
Die 3R-Prinzipien zeigen Wirkung: Die Anzahl Tiere in Tierversuchen hat stark abgenommenImage: BLV/OSAV/FSVO

Is the number of animal experiments expected to decline in the next few years?

No, the use of animals is still required for the conduct of research. This situation is not expected to change in the future.

However, it is already mandatory that any available alternative methods that yield reliable results be used, and new ones are constantly being developed. Nevertheless, some scientific questions are so complex that animal testing is needed to explore them – in compliance with the 3Rs principle. In fact, the number of animals used in experiments may even rise slightly, as more research is being conducted and certain questions can be investigated for the first time by means of new experimental methods or with the use of novel, genetically altered animals. One issue that has recently resulted in an increase in the number of animal experiments is that some procedures were not previously classified as such in the past, for example following wild bird migration using mini-transmitters or the capturing of fish and tadpoles for marking and testing (skin swab). These studies with wild animals are intended for the conservation of nature and to help identify e.g. how many aquatic animals are living in a certain body of water. In some cantons, this resulted in an abrupt rise in numbers (additional details can be found in the section on animal testing statistics). Consequently, the number of animal experiments is not expected to decline in the next few years.