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 10 animal testing countries in the world are the USA, Japan, China, Australia, France, Canada, the UK, Germany, Taiwan 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 figures show that in 2011, almost 11.5 million animals were used in experiments across Europe, only a slight decrease on 2008.
- France, Germany and the UK were the top 3 users of animals in experiments, in that order.
- The countries of the EU in 2011 reported that they used 17,896 dogs, 3,713 cats, 358,213 rabbits, 6,686 horses, 6,095 monkeys, 675,065 birds, 77,280 pigs, 28,892 sheep, 30,914 cattle, over 1,000,000 fish and over 8,500,000 rodents.
- Fundamental biological research accounts for 46% of the total number of experiments, while the use of animals for research and development of human and veterinary medicines only accounts for 19% of the total number used.
- 34% of old world monkeys are still imported from non-EU countries. France, Germany and the UK are the biggest users of monkeys, in that order.
- Six of the EU countries conducted a total of 977 animal tests for household products, with Denmark as the biggest tester.
UK animal experiments
- According to the latest Government figures (for 2015), a total of 4.14 million experiments were completed in Great Britain during 2015.
- Of these, 2.06 million (50%) related to the creation or breeding of genetically altered animals who were not used in further experiments.
- The remaining 2.08 million (50%) were other experiments on animals.
- More than 600,000 animals were subjected to experiments that even the researchers considered had caused them moderate or severe suffering.
- Animals used in the UK included mice (3.04 million experiments), rats (268,522 experiments), birds (141,425 experiments), rabbits (14,155 experiments), guinea-pigs (21,831 experiments), monkeys (3,612 experiments), dogs (4,643 experiments), cats (209 experiments), horses (8,356 experiments), sheep (46,586 experiments), pigs (5,827 experiments), and fish (561,424 experiments).
- A number of British native wild animals were also used in animal experiments. In 2015, there were 496 tests on ‘other carnivores’, which includes badgers, weasels, foxes and seals.
- 379 ‘other mammals’ were used, which includes popular hedgerow residents such as voles, shrews, bats and hares.
- Of the 2.08 million experiments conducted on animals, 53% (1.1 million experiments) were in the area of basic research – much of it driven by the curiosity of university researchers.
- 48% of experiments were conducted in universities, often using taxpayers’ funds.
- Only 13% of experiments were apparently required by regulators.
- In 2015, 90% 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 (340 tests in 2015)
- eye irritation (173 tests in 2015)
- acute lethal toxicity tests (9,183 tests in 2015)
- pyrogenicity (fever) tests (2,609 tests in 2015) 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.