Animal Studies for Crop Protection Products

Why do we even need crop protection?

Without crop protection, an additional 970 million hectares would be needed to feed a growing population – more than the area of the U.S.

Even with crop protection, up to 40 percent of annual production is lost to weeds, insects and disease.

Without fungicides, which protect plants from disease, it is estimated that yields of most fruits and vegetables would fall by 50–95 percent.

Why does agriculture need innovation?

Farmers need innovation to produce more while using fewer resources (land, fuel, fertilizer) to meet global needs.

Global trends, such as population growth, rising incomes in emerging markets, dietary changes, weather volatility and climate change, drive this need.

We take this very seriously, investing around one billion. Euros per year. and have 5.500 researchers working on agriculture’s most pressing challenges.

How does Bayer ensure that pesticides are not dangerous to human health?

All registered products are safe for humans and the environment when applied properly in accordance with label instructions.
Crop protection products are among the most intensively tested chemicals. Overall; testing is a 10-year process and concludes with- evaluations of the results by independent authorities throughout the world.
Crop protection helps produce safe, healthy and affordable food.

Development cost and time of a plant protection product:

  • 10-14 years
  • 250 million Euros


Strict regulations govern the use of crop protection products

Crop protection products are among the most thoroughly tested products worldwide. They undergo strict testing and independent assessment of the data by government agencies before they are authorized for use in the field.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) safety review requests over 100 toxicological and environmental studies to prove proper use does not pose unreasonable risks to human health or the environment.


Crop Science is committed to innovative and safe crop protection solutions. With this objective in mind, harmful weeds, insects and fungi, which impair yield and harvests, have to be prevented and, if this is not possible, treated as soon as they appear in the fields or on the plants.

The discovery of an efficient treatment to secure harvests is one element but no matter how effective the substance is - the safety for human beings is of greater importance.

The identification and selection of efficient herbicides, insecticides and fungicides is done directly on weeds and plants, with harmful insects and plant pathogens. To be efficient, these crop protective products aim to impair biochemical processes in plants and insects or fungi.

Once the efficiency is identified, the safety for human beings of the selected candidates is the highest priority: it means safety for the workers in production and for the farmers applying the products but also safety for the consumers who can be exposed to residues or metabolites in their daily food and in their environment.

Animal Studies for the Crop Science Division of Bayer

Before a Bayer crop protection product can be applied on the plants, it must be tested on animals. Find out why animal studies are necessary for making sure new products are safe for humans and the environment.

What role do animal studies play?

The safety of crop protection products for humans is checked in different toxicity studies for which animals (mainly rats and mice) are used. Most of those studies are required by the legislative authorities for marketing authorization.

But nowadays studies involving bioinformatics and in vitro models are used as alternatives to animal studies in order to gain preliminary knowledge on the developed molecules. These modern tools allow the testing of a large number of compounds and significant amounts of data can be obtained without animals. Compounds considered to have non-desirable properties are stopped at this stage without further testing in animal studies with a consequent reduction in the number of animals used.

Only compounds with a favorable safety profile, are subjected to a battery of toxicity studies, mainly on rats and mice (general toxicity, reproductive toxicity and carcinogenicity), which have to be conducted to demonstrate the absence of relevant effects induced by the active substance. These studies with animals are legally mandated to obtain the market authorization fora substance to be used in a country and are indispensable as plant protection products cannot be administered directly to in human beings in clinical trials in contrast to a drug.