Geneva: The Swiss Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) reported on Wednesday that 606,505 animals were used for experimental purposes in Switzerland in 2014.

Representing a 2.8 percent increase compared to 2013, the animals used included rodents (78.8 percent), as well as birds, pets, livestock, rabbits, amphibians, primates and other mammals, Xinhua reported.

Official categorisation in Switzerland quantifies the amount of harm incurred by animals during experiments through four severity levels (0 to 3), with level 0 being harmless and level 3 severe.

FSVO indicated that 77.4 percent of the animals were used in experiments in which little or no harm was done (level 0 and 1), while 20.6 percent experienced level 2 and two percent level 3.

According to figures, close to half of laboratory animals were used for fundamental research purposes (a 1.8 percent rise compared to 2013), while the number of animals used by Swiss industry registered a 3 percent decline last year.

FSVO recorded the number of genetically modified mice increased by 5.7 percent, and that no laboratory animal was used in tests linked to cosmetics or tobacco products.

Last year also saw a sharp increase in the number of animals used for medical diagnostics purposes, with one experiment using some 3,500 fish to study the effects climate and water-quality have on trout development and health.