The number of animals used in laboratory tests in Switzerland in 2000 has fallen for the 17th consecutive year, according to the federal veterinary office.
In total, 425,000 animals were used in clinical testing and controlled laboratory experiments. Over half the experiments involving animals took place in the city of Basel, an international centre for the pharmaceutical industry.
Tests on animals fell by five per cent compared with figures released for 1999 and by 79 per cent in comparison with statistics dating back to 1983.
In its annual report on the state of animal research in Swiss laboratories, the veterinary office said no animal had been used during 2000 for the testing of cosmetic or household cleansing products.
Two-thirds of the tests on animals were carried out by the industrial sector, while a quarter were used in experiments performed by research students in graduate schools and hospitals.
The number of genetically modified mice used for the purposes of scientific research did register a slight increase of seven per cent in 2000, while minimal use was made of animals such as rabbits, monkeys, dogs and chickens.
In a sign that the authorities are clamping down on the illegal use of animals in experiments, the veterinary office announced an increase in the number of prosecutions brought against individuals performing tests on animals without a valid licence.
swissinfo with agencies