New figures released by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, show an overall decrease in the use of animals in biomedical research last year.
According to the official government website (in Spanish), in 2017 there were a total of 802,976 procedures involving animals, which compares to 917,986 in 2016.
Overall this reflects a significant drop, equivalent to one-eighth of the 2016 total number, including almost halving of the number of times fish were used (from 168,746 to 85,687).
The statistics, made available annually in compliance with European law, demonstrate the continuing commitment of the Spanish biomedical sector to working responsibly with animals used for research.
Particular trends show a reduction in the number of procedures on mice, rats, pigs and, especially cephalopods – down from 8444 to 20. More procedures on cats (531) and dogs (1476) occurred in 2017 than in the previous year. This overall downward trend countered the way the number of procedures in Spain had previously been increasing since 2014.
Commenting on the figures, Lluis Montoliu of the National Centre for Biotechnology, Spain, tweeted: ‘It must be remembered … that the use of dogs is still indispensable in the preclinical validation of innovative gene therapy treatments for diseases and that the use of non-human primates is equally essential in certain pathologies that affect us.’