Animal studies for innovation and safety
As a research-based company, we depend on animal studies to investigate the effects of our products on people, animals and the environment. Such testing is scientifically necessary and is also prescribed by law in the majority of cases. We have anchored in our “Policy on animal welfare and animal studies” the basic principle of using only as many animals as necessary to attain scientifically meaningful results. The principles also apply to external studies and are monitored by our Animal Protection Officer.
Since 2005, Bayer has been a member of the European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA), a joint initiative of the European Commission and industry. We support the EPAA’s “3R” principle with the aim of “reducing” the number of experimental animals, “refining” experimentation methods and “replacing” animal studies with other methods. Furthermore, for many years we have been active in German and international projects aimed at developing alternatives to animal studies, and we participate in studies organized jointly by pharmaceutical companies and universities.
In 2009, Bayer scientists conducted studies with 171,251 animals (2008: 157,710) worldwide. In the vast majority of cases, these animals were used in the development of drug products; in other cases, they were used in the development of new animal health products, crop protection agents or industrial chemicals. Most (approximately 92 percent) of the animals used in testing in 2009 were rodents, such as rats and mice. Fish accounted for 3.8 percent of animals used in testing, and birds for 2.3 percent. The total share of dogs, cats and monkeys used in research was 0.6 percent.
The increase compared to 2008 was due to the growth in the use of mice, fish and birds. As a result of increased research efforts in the field of oncology we now require more mice to characterize new active substances, including in response to regulatory inquiries. The larger number of fish tested resulted from the rise in ecotoxicological studies stipulated by the regulatory authorities. The evaluation of promising approaches in the treatment of poultry has led to an increase in the number of corresponding animals tested.
New statutory guidelines worldwide promote the additional generation of data through animal studies to determine the safety of substances. The Protection of Animals Act specifies that only those animals expressly bred for testing purposes may be used in animal studies. This act explicitly allows exceptions for agricultural livestock and fish, as test animals are not bred in these species.