FOUR PAWS team leader Dr. Amir Khalil holds a sedated monkey at the Khan Yunis Zoo in the Gaza Strip.
(photo credit: FOUR PAWS)
A total of 335,000 animals – 88 percent of them rodents – were used by scientists for experimentation last year, according to the Health Ministry, which supervises such work.
Mice and rats constituted the vast majority of subjects, while 7% were chickens and other poultry and 4% of them fish.
Just 1.3% of the animals that underwent experiments were higher animals, including 42 primates (monkeys), the ministry said on its website.
Compared to 2014, 12,000 fewer fish and 9,000 fewer rats were used, while the number of mice used rose by 18,000. This reflects efforts to develop new experimentation technologies without using higher animals.
The ministry gave 2,888 authorizations to scientists to use animals for experimentation.
A total of 45% were for medicine and health sciences and to prevent suffering, while 44% were to advance scientific knowledge, 9% for examination or production of objects or materials and 1.5% for education and teaching.
Primates comprised just 1.5% of animals for experimentation.
There are efforts to rehabilitate such higher animals after experimentation and restore them to a normal environment. In the past five years, 30 of 36 monkeys were rehabilitated, a very high rate compared to experiments outside Israel.
In 2013, the ministry funded a special project for finding alternative research techniques without using animals. As a result, five such projects were funded, and the ministry has called for more research proposals in the field this year.