New Research Reveals 115 Million Animals Subjected to Experiments Worldwide
An Animal Rights Article from


British Union Against Vivisection
September 2008

Almost double the official number of animals could be involved in UK tests. The British Union Against Vivisection (BUAV) and the Dr. Hadwen Trust say "It is shocking that so few countries consider it important even to count the number of animals suffering in their laboratories. It is impossible to have a clear and honest debate about the role of animal experiments in the 21st century when the official number of animals involved is outrageously underestimated. It means that a huge amount of animal suffering is simply being ignored, and efforts to replace animal research with more modern techniques are being hampered. Vivisection is considered one of the most controversial uses of animals, so it's about time that governments around the world, including our own, brought the truth into the open."

An estimated 115 million animals are used in laboratory experiments around the world each year, according to the first ever statistical analysis of global animal testing published this week in Alternatives to Laboratory Animals journal.

Authors from the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) and the Dr. Hadwen Trust for Humane Research warn that even this massive figure is likely to be an underestimate due to the way figures are compiled, and they have issued a joint call for the missing millions of lab animals to be accounted for. The 115 million total was reached using a starting point of 50 million animals from countries that publish official figures. However, despite widespread public and political interest in animal research worldwide, only 21% of countries actually collect data on their national animal experiments. So, a statistical model was developed based on animal research publication rates for countries with no official data, which added 8 million animals from 142 countries. Also included were those animals used in laboratories but excluded from most statistics, such as genetically modified animals bred to maintain colonies, animals killed as surplus to requirements and those killed for tissue samples. These were estimated to add a staggering 57 million to the global total, bringing it to 115 million.

The extraordinary lack of official figures for the majority of countries is a major cause for concern. For those countries that do record statistics, there are also unacceptable crucial omissions. For example in Britain, animals killed as surplus or for their tissues are not counted. If they were, the Home Office's official figure of just under three million animals would increase to over 5 million animals [3]. In the USA, even basic accurate recording would increase official statistics of just over one million animals to a shocking 34 million, because they currently exclude 93% of animals used - all birds, rats, mice, fish, amphibians and reptiles.

For more information, visit British Union Against Vivisection, Dr. Hadwen Trust to learn animal alternatives to using animals in labs, and All-Creatures Photo Gallery Animal Exploitation to see what happens to animals in laboratories.

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