Facts and figures on animal testing
Millions of animals are used and killed in the name of progress every year.
Global animal experiments
- Cruelty Free International has published the most up-to-date, accurate and comprehensive estimate of the number of animals used in scientific experiments worldwide, ten years after our previous, widely cited 2005 estimate.
- We estimate that at least 192.1 million animals were used for scientific purposes worldwide in 2015.
- This figure includes an estimated 79.9 million experiments on animals as well as millions of other animals who are killed for their tissues, used to breed genetically modified animal strains and bred but not used or killed as surplus.
- We estimate that the top 10 animal testing countries in the world are China (20.5 million) Japan (15.0 million), the United States (15.6 million), Canada (3.6 million), Australia (3.2 million), South Korea (3.1 million), the United Kingdom (2.6 million), Brazil (2.2 million), Germany (2.0 million) and France (1.9 million), in that order.
- We also calculated the total number of experiments involving dogs and monkeys worldwide. In 2015, an estimated 207,724 tests using dogs and 158,780 tests using monkeys were conducted.
- The top 10 users of dogs were: China; the United States; Canada; South Korea; Japan; Australia; Brazil; the United Kingdom; Germany and India.
- The top 10 users of monkeys were: the United States; China; Japan; Brazil; Canada; the United Kingdom; France; Germany; India and South Korea.
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 10.9 million experiments were conducted on animals across the EU in 2017.
- An additional 12.6 million animals were bred and killed, but not used in experiments. This means that in 2017, a total of 23.5 million animals were killed for scientific purposes in the EU.
- Despite increased public demand for a reduction in animal research, there has been little change since the previous report was published (11.5 million animals used in 2011).
- According to the EU definitions, the United Kingdom (UK) now conducts the highest number of animal experiments in Europe (2.6 million in 2017), replacing Germany. Germany remains the second highest user completing 2.1 million experiments in 2017 while France is third with 1.9 million experiments that year.
- There was a total of 21,369 uses of dogs in 2017 with France (4,106 uses), the UK (3,949 uses) and Germany (3,330 uses) being the top 3 users.
- There was a total of 11,609 uses of primates across the EU in 2017 (up 7% since 2015) with France (3,746 uses), Germany (3,472 uses) and the UK (2,960 uses) being the top 3 users.
- Out of the total number of experiments conducted in the EU in 2017, 40% were for basic research purposes while only 20% were required by regulators.
- Experiments are still being conducted for regulatory purposes in the EU where there are valid non-animal alternatives available. In 2017, there were 4,120 skin irritation tests, 814 eye irritation tests, 47,341 skin sensitisation tests, 35,172 pyrogenicity tests and 892,723 batch potency tests (a large proportion of which is likely to include botox tests).
UK animal experiments
- According to the latest Government figures (for 2018), a total of 3.52 million experiments were completed in Great Britain during 2018.
- Of these, 1.72 million (49%) related to the creation or breeding of genetically altered animals who were not used in further experiments.
- The remaining 1.80 million (51%) were actual experiments on animals, which included 564,719 animals (31%) that were subjected to experiments that even the researchers considered had caused them moderate or severe suffering.
- Animals used in the UK included mice (2.57 million experiments), rats (177,904 experiments), hamsters (1,416 experiments), birds (148,047 experiments), rabbits (11,159 experiments), guinea-pigs (6,445 experiments), monkeys (3,207 experiments), dogs (4,481 experiments), cats (159 experiments), horses (10,424 experiments), sheep (53,672 experiments), pigs (3,750 experiments), goats (58 experiments), cows (3,723 experiments), reptiles (104 experiments), amphibians (9,873 experiments) and fish (514,340 experiments).
- Of the 1.80 million actual experiments that were conducted on animals, 56% (1.0 million experiments) were in the area of basic research – much of it driven by the curiosity of university researchers.
- 50% of all experiments were conducted in universities, often using taxpayers’ funds.
- Only 13% of all experiments were ones that were required by regulators. · In 2018, 85% of experiments conducted on monkeys used animals who were imported from outside the EU.
- There were 397 experiments on household product ingredients in 2018.
- Experiments are still being conducted for toxicological tests where there are valid non-animal alternatives available. These include:
- skin irritation (123 tests in 2018)
- eye irritation (40 tests in 2018)
- acute lethal toxicity tests (10,275 tests in 2018)
- pyrogenicity (fever) tests on live rabbits (638 tests in 2018).
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.