After a decline in the past few years, the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC) has again reported an increase in the number of animals used in research. A total of 52,132 laboratory animals – mainly mice, rats and fish – were used in 2021. That is 16,966 more than in the previous year. The increase can be partly attributed to changes in reporting rules. But it is also due to the fact that biomedical research operations were up and running more normally again after the first year of the pandemic in 2020.
Furthermore, the number of animals used often fluctuates when projects get underway or are completed, or when a new lab is opened or an existing one is closed.
The laboratory animals reported by the MDC also include those used by individual research groups at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the Leibniz-Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pharmakologie (FMP), the Berlin Institute of Health at Charité (BIH), and the spin-offs T-knife and Berlin Cures.
At the MDC, health research is carried out in strict adherence to the 3R principles (Reduce, Refine, Replace) and is rigorously monitored and controlled. The MDC is also committed to transparent communication about animal research and in July 2021 became one of the first research institutions to join the Transparent Animal Testing initiative.