European Commission answers to written question on ‘surplus’ animals not reported on the annual statistics of animals used in science
The Commission replies that to ensure that a sufficient number of suitable animals are available to meet scientific demand, more animals are bred than used. Even if the fluctuation in demand impacts most on the number of animals killed and not used, the total figure also covers animals killed
— For organs/tissues;
— At the end of their breeding life;
— On welfare grounds;
— To protect the health/scientific integrity of the colony; and,
— As being unsuitable for an intended scientific purpose.
The Commission recognises that a good oversight of breeding programmes and the systematic application of the principle of the Three Rs are essential to minimise surplus animals and that it discusses this topic regularly with Member States.
The Commission services together with experts from Member States and main stakeholders organisations have developed several guidance documents in which efficient breeding programmes are highlighted not only from the perspective of animal breeders but also those overseeing the work (designated veterinarians, inspectors). This facilitates a continued focus, by all concerned, on minimising potential surplus.
The Commission services are also developing guidance on genetically altered animals. It will include further advice on how surplus can be addressed.