Millions of UNUSED research animals killed in Germany including cats

A report which was discussed in April 2020 in the news media revealed a shocking statistic namely that in Germany 3.9 million animals died at research laboratories and these animals had never been used in research. I'll restate that because it is so shocking. Animals brought into research laboratories or bred there and which were not subsequently employed in the research were killed nonetheless and the number of these animals stands at 3.9 million. The figure relates to 2017 in Germany.

Animals not used but killed in Animal research in Germany amounted to 3.9 million in 2017
Animals not used but killed in Animal research in Germany amounted to 3.9 million in 2017. Photo: Image by Tibor Janosi Mozes from Pixabay.



The information was released after the Green party requested the information. Perhaps more shockingly, across the entire European Union 12.6 million animals were killed under the same circumstances. I find that number hard to digest. Is it really true? It is saying that almost 13 million animals were killed for no reason! No reason whatsoever. This is mass animal cruelty but entirely legalised.

Initially the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel tried to sugarcoat the statistics by releasing the number of animals killed after they were experimented on. That number is high enough at 2.8 million in Germany in 2017. Apparently 2017 saw the highest number of animals ever bred for research in Germany. They included 718 cats, monkeys, fish and over a quarter of a million rats.

About 50% are used for basic research experiments, 27% used in testing for new medicines, while 15% were tested in respect of specific diseases. Across Europe animal experiments are banned to research cosmetics. The same applies to the UK.

Comment: there are many instances when animals that have been tested on for scientific purposes are still viable as domestic pets but they are invariably killed. But, in the EU, when they are not even used, abused, exploited and injured by scientific researchers they are still killed and thrown away. You just can't fathom it can you?

The German Animal Welfare Act allows the use of animals in research despite the fact that the law provides extensive and far-reaching protection. Interestingly, animals under the law in Germany are regarded as "fellow creatures". Hardly true. In order to justify experiments on animals in Germany the researchers must always show that the goal of the experiments cannot be reached using any other methods or techniques. Specifically, experiments can only be carried out if at least one of the following criteria is fulfilled:

  • The experiments serve the purpose of prevention, diagnosis or treatment of diseases in humans and animals;
  • They help recognize environmental hazards;
  • They are part of safety testing for materials or products;
  • They are necessary for basic research.

Note: I've taken those words verbatim from the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics webpage in the interests of complete accuracy.

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