Animal testing dropped by around 5% in 2018, latest figures show. The news comes as a people’s initiative aims to stop animal experimentation altogether.
More than half a million animals were used for testing last year, according to the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office, with two thirds of them being mice. No animals were used for cosmetic testing, the office said in a statementexternal link.
There were fewer animals (almost 28,000) involved than in 2017, a drop of 4.6%. Overall there is a trend towards less animal testing in Switzerland: the number of tests has fallen by around 17% over the last decade, although there have been fluctuations over the years, the statement added.
In drop for 2018 was mostly due to fewer fish and poultry being used, the communique continued.
Around 16,000 animals were used for more severe forms of testing, a drop of 7.2% on 2017.
In Switzerland, animal testing needs permissionexternal link and may only be performed if there are alternatives available. Researchers have to show that the benefits to society are greater than the distress suffered by the animals involved.
Initiative to ban testing
In March this year campaigners handed in signatures to force a people’s initiative on banning all experiments on animalsexternal link and people as well as the import of products for which such experiments have been carried out.
The initiative has the support of 80 groups and businesses, as well as the leftwing Social Democratic and Green parties. Higher education body Swissuniversities and researchers have spoken out against the initiativeexternal link, arguing that the ban would hinder Swiss medical research.
The government rejected the initiative at the end of June, saying while it shared the view that suffering should be kept to a minimum, animals were protected enough in research under Switzerland’s strict standards.
A nationwide vote on the issue could take place in around 2022.