The number of animals on which researchers conducted medical experimentation in 2016 rose significantly to 507,000 from 305,000 in the previous year – but fish and other lower creatures consisted a growing share, 35%, of them.The Health Ministry, which is responsible for supervising vivisection for medical experimentation, said that rodents remained the largest group – almost 300,000 and most of them killed humanely at the end of the experiments. But there were also 178,000 fish of various types and 2,000 other cold-blooded creatures such as amphibians and reptiles used for experimentation.A total of 20,000 chickens and 1,700 turkeys were killed for science, along with 40 owls, 22 sparrows, 14 snakes, 1,434 salamanders, 684 frogs, 365 bats, 46 monkeys, 748 rabbits, one camel, 207 goats, 2,259 cows and 397 sheep (a small number of mostly large mammals, were rehabilitated, adopted or returned to nature).The rate of rehabilitation of advanced mammals that have been involved in research in Israel is among the highest in the world, the ministry said.The ministry said that universities, hospitals and other research institutes are instructed to use the lowest number of animals possible for their experiments.The ministry gave out 3,135 permits for vivisection experiments in 2016, with 45% for advancing health and medicine and preventing suffering, 45% to advance scientific knowledge, 9% to examine substances or objects and the rest for education and teaching.Committees meet to discuss how vital the research is before permits are given, the ministry said, and changes are frequently made. Nearly one in 10 of the requests were rejected or the discussions have not yet been completed. Four years ago, the ministry set up a research fund that gives grants for the development of research techniques that make experimentation on live animals unnecessary. So far, nine such projects have been financed, and the aim is to minimize the amount of vivisection.