The Swedish definition of laboratory animal covers many more animals than the European definition does. This leads to different figures — an important fact to remember when comparing Swedish statistics with statistics from other EU Member States.
The definition is based on the purpose for which the animals are used.
Laboratory animals are defined as animals used in animal experiments or that are bred, kept, or supplied for animal experiments.
Animal experiment is defined as the use of animals for:
1. scientific research
2. diagnosis of disease
3. development and manufacture of pharmaceutical or chemical products
4. teaching purposes, if the use means that the animal is killed, subjected to surgical operation, injection, or blood-letting, or if the animal is caused or risks being caused suffering, and
5. other similar purposes.
Animal experiment also includes production of genetically modified animals, if gene technology or other methods are used.
Hence, the European model does not include animals that have not undergone a procedure, but are killed to enable access to organs, tissues, or cells. Likewise, it does not include animals that have not undergone a procedure, but are used in behavioural research.
Annual statistics are available for laboratory animals in Sweden since 1982 based on the Swedish definition, and since 1990 based on both the Swedish and European definitions.