A TOTAL of 226,934 animals were used in scientific experiments in Ireland last year alone, new figures reveal.
A report by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) reveals that mice and rats were the most used animals, with 192121 and 9892 used respectively across 2016.
Rabbits were used on 1228 occasions, while 964 Guinea Pigs, 356 dogs and 271 cats were tested on over the course of the year.
A total of 10519 fish were also used for scientific research last year, making up the second highest category of species tested on after mice.
The HPRA, a state agency with responsibility for regulating human and veterinary medicines, medical devices and other health products, explains: “Mice (85%) were by far the most commonly used species. The next most common species used were fish and rats.”
They add: “Dogs and cats were used exclusively in studies for the development of veterinary medicines, which is expected to be of benefit to those species.”
The report reveals that 75 per cent of the animals tested were for “regulatory use and routine production”, which is defined as the “use of animals in procedures with a view to satisfying legal requirements for producing, placing and maintaining products/substances on the market, including safety and risk assessment for food and feed”.
It goes on to reveal that 29 per cent of the animals endured a “severe” experience during their procedure, 99 per cent of which were mice.
Of the remaining 71 per cent, one per cent of uses were classified as non-recovery, 44 per cent were classified as mild and 22 per cent were moderate.
Mongolian gerbils, hamsters, other rodents, other carnivores, reptiles, rana, other amphibians, cephalopods and non-human primates were not used in scientific trials in Ireland last year.
Breakdown of animals tested on in Ireland in 2016:
Guinea pigs 964
Horses, donkeys and cross breeds 204
Domestic fowl 196
Other birds 674
Zebra fish 1439
Other fish 10519
Read the full report here