Facts and figures on animal testing
Millions of animals are used and killed in the name of progress every year.
Global animal experiments
- Research by Cruelty Free International and the Dr Hadwen Trust suggests that at least 115 million animals may be used in experiments worldwide each year.
- We estimate that the top 9 animal testing countries in the world are the USA, Japan, China, Australia, France, Canada, the UK, Germany and Brazil, in that order.
- Animal experiments are sadly not in decline, and in many parts of the world are on the increase (e.g. China) or remain at the same level as they were in the 1980s or 1990s (e.g. the UK, Europe).
The vast majority of animal research is not testing drugs but doing basic research and producing genetically modified mice. Half of all animal experiments are now conducted at universities.
European Union animal experiments
- The latest official report from the European Commission shows that in 2011, almost 11.5 million animals were used in experiments across Europe, only a slight decrease on 2008.
- However, we have conducted a more recent analysis based on reports from EU countries. According to our analysis published in alternatives journal, Altex, the number of experiments has risen to 13.1 million per year across the 28 member states of the European Union, an increase of 14% in 2014.
- The UK is now the biggest reported user of animals in the EU with 3.9 million experiments reported in 2014. Germany is the second highest user with 2.8 million and France third with 1.8 million.
- In 2014, it is estimated that there were 318,259 experiments on rabbits, 3,851 on cats, 11,250 on horses and 22,967 on dogs.
- There were also 8,898 experiments on primates. The use of new world monkeys (marmosets, tamarins) has increased by 8% and the use of old world monkeys (macaques and baboons) increased by 49%.
- Baboons were used in France (149 experiments), Spain (32 experiments) and Germany (2 experiments).
- Austria (10%), Belgium (15%), Bulgaria (27%) and Ireland (40%) reported the highest levels of severe suffering. Testing of botulinum toxin on animals is a significant activity in Austria and Ireland which might account for this as the test is an LD50 test which causes severe suffering and death to at least 50% of the animals in each and every experiment.
UK animal experiments
- According to the latest Government figures (for 2016), a total of 3.9 million experiments were completed in Great Britain during 2016.
- Of these, 1.9 million (49%) related to the creation or breeding of genetically altered animals who were not used in further experiments.
- The remaining 2.0 million (50%) were other experiments on animals.
- Almost 700,000 animals were subjected to experiments that even the researchers considered had caused them moderate or severe suffering.
- Animals used in the UK included mice (1.2 million experiments), rats (238,841 experiments), birds (149,97 experiments), rabbits (15,431 experiments), guinea-pigs (26,186 experiments), monkeys (3,569 experiments), dogs (4,932 experiments), cats (190 experiments), horses (8,948 experiments), sheep (47,904 experiments), pigs (5,358 experiments), and fish (286,600 experiments).
- Of the 2.0 million experiments conducted on animals, 55% (1.1 million experiments) were in the area of basic research – much of it driven by the curiosity of university researchers.
- 49% of experiments were conducted in universities, often using taxpayers’ funds.
- Only 13% of experiments were apparently required by regulators.
- In 2016, 89% of experiments conducted on monkeys used animals who were imported from outside the EU.
- Experiments are still being conducted for toxicological tests where there are valid non-animal alternatives available. This includes:
- skin irritation (252 tests in 2016)
- eye irritation (128 tests in 2016)
- acute lethal toxicity tests (11,530 tests in 2016)
- pyrogenicity (fever) tests (2,472 tests in 2016) on live rabbits.
The science relating to animal experiments can be extremely complicated and views often differ. What appears on this website represents Cruelty Free International expert opinion, based on a thorough assessment of the evidence.