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, a total of at least 10.5 million animal experiments were conducted across 27 member states in the EU in 2016 (Portugal is excluded from this figure as they have not published a report since 2014).
- Germany is now the biggest reported user of animals in the EU in 2016 with 2.2 million experiments per year. The UK is the second highest user with 2.0 million and France third with 1.9 million animal experiments.
- In 2016, a total of 23,464 experiments were conducted on dogs across 17 member states. The UK is the biggest user of dogs in experiments with 4,988 experiments. France is the second highest user with 4,204 and Germany third with 3,976 experiments.
- A total of 10,467 experiments were conducted on monkeys in across nine member states. Of these experiments, 94% involved cynomolgous or rhesus macaques. The UK remains the biggest user of monkeys in experiments with 3,569 experiments conducted in 2016. France is the second with 3,508 and Germany third with 2,418 experiments. Baboons were used in 2016 by France (92 experiments) and Germany (8 experiments).
- Out of the total number of experiments conducted in the EU, 47% were for basic research purposes while only 25% were required by regulators.
- Experiments are still being conducted for regulatory purposes in the EU where there are valid non-animal alternatives available. In the 19 member states that provided data on specific regulatory tests, there were a total of 1,552 skin irritation tests, 551 eye irritation tests and 21,891 skin sensitisation tests conducted in 2016. There were also 27,249 pyrogenicity tests and 578,948 batch potency tests (a proportion of which is likely to include botulinum toxin 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.