How Many Animals Are Used in Research?
Although only a few alternatives for animal studies have been validated and approved by government authorities until now, we have significantly reduced the number of laboratory animals in recent years. In 2017, our scientists worldwide used 107,996 animals as part of their research. This is a substantial decrease from the 125,585 in 2016.
We sometimes commission external institutions to carry out studies. In 2017, 29,126 animals were used in these facilities. This is an increase from 23,582 in 2016.
What Kinds of Animals Are Used?
91.2 percent of all laboratory animals at Bayer are mice and rats. Other rodent species make up additional 2.9 percent. Hence, 94 percent of all laboratory animals are rodents. Fish make up 3.5 percent and birds 0.1 percent. Only 1.8 percent of all our laboratory animals are non-human primates (NHPs), cats and dogs. Livestock animals make up the last 0.5 percent.
Mice and rats are the most frequently used animals because their bodies are similar to humans in many ways. They usually provide reliable evidence of how a new active ingredient will react inside the human body.
Other species are used only if studies in mice and rats are unlikely to yield meaningful results, or in scientific or regulatory circumstances. For example, in toxicity studies for the development of new drugs, authorities usually require studies in a non-rodent species (dogs, pigs, primates) as well as in rodents. In this way the authorities want to ensure that as many of the drug’s effects as possible are detected before the product is used in humans for the first time.