Animal Aid

ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS - 2001 statistics

Posted 1 July 2002

The Home Office has published the statistics on animal procedures for 2001. A 2.8% drop in the number of animals killed in British labs merely compensates for the 2% rise in animal numbers the year before. This hardly represents the radical reduction this government promised - and has the audacity to pretend it is being delivered.

There are also some highly disturbing increases:

  • 17% increase in the number of dogs killed in experiments
  • 18% increase in the number of Old World monkeys
  • 8% increase in total number of monkeys
  • 8% increase in procedures using genetically modified animals (a 1207% increase since 1990)
  • 27% increase in acute lethal toxicity experiments

Norman Baker MP said: "The Government should be ashamed that in the 21st century we are still using primitive methods to test ingredients." Indeed, not only is animal testing intolerably cruel - it is also scientifically worthless. Animal experiments have never been validated and if they were to be rigorously assessed for validity, as non-animal methods are, they would undoubtedly fail.

Animal testing is a double betrayal - both of animals and of people - who are exposed to hazardous chemicals and pharmaceuticals, thanks to the inadequate safety testing that is animal experimentation. More sophisticated methods are available - it is high time the government mandated their use.

SUMMARY OF THE 2001 STATISTICS OF SCIENTIFIC PROCEDURES ON LIVING ANIMALS IN GREAT BRITAIN PUBLISHED BY THE HOME OFFICE:

Categories Numbers Change
since 2000
Total number of procedures on animals 2,622,442 down 3%
Testing for toxicity, safety or efficacy (17% of all procedures) 455,466 up 0.1%
Fundamental research (30% of all procedures) 778,651 down 11%
Procedures using transgenic animals (24% of all procedures) 630,759 up 8%
Procedures using animals with a harmful genetic defect 246,844 down 4%
Number of procedures without any anaesthetic (59% of total) 1,551,071 down 5%
* Total number of individual animals used 2,567,713 down 3%
Research, development and safety testing of pharmaceuticals 685,896 down 7%
Toxicity testing of cosmetics (no longer permissible in the UK) 0     SAME
Procedures in education & training 5,773 down 4%
Procedures on cats 1,580 down 13%
...in respiratory & cardiovascular research (previously 1) 18 up 1700%
...in nervous system or special senses research 188 down 36%
...in toxicity tests 12 down 94%
* Number of individual cats 731 up 19%
Procedures on primates 3,986 up 8%
(incl. macaques: 2,597; marmosets & tamarins: 1,339; other monkeys: 50)    
...in toxicity tests 2,466 down 4%
...in nervous or special senses research 789 up 53%
...in respiratory or cardiovascular research 420 down 87%
* Number of individual primates 3,342 up 13%
Procedures on dogs (beagles: 6,872; crossbreds: 760) 7,945 up 4%
...in respiratory & cardiovascular research 1,317 up 1%
...in toxicity tests 5,332 up 35%
* Number of individual dogs 5,554 up 17%
Procedures on mice (63% of total) 1,657,657 up 3%
Procedures on amphibians 15,850 up 2%
Procedures on rabbits 33,741 down 15%
Procedures on horse, donkey or crossbred 8,805 down 5%
Procedures on birds 126,858 up 2%
Procedures on fish 171,092 down 30%
Tobacco research 48 down 21%
Alcohol research 3,081     SAME
Toxicity tests of food additives and other foodstuffs 3,470 down 42%
Toxicity tests of household products 590 down 52%
Toxicity tests of industrial substances 52,685 down 2%
Toxicity tests of agricultural chemicals (incl. 120 beagles) 40,998 up 16%
Toxicity tests for environmental pollution 38,245 up 9%
Lethal short-term toxicity tests 122,286 up 27%
Toxicity procedures required by legislation, British & overseas 389,779 up 2%
Cancer research 268,757 up 4%
(includes 106,594 genetically modified animals; 68,027 animals with genetic defect)    
Tests for cancer-causing chemicals 9,157 down 19%
# Interference with organs of sight, hearing, smell or taste 16,478 up 5%
# Injection into brain 25,043 down 7%
# Interference with the brain 31,041 down 20%
# Procedures deliberately causing psychological stress 10,282 down 1%
# Procedures involving aversive training 10,920 up 72%
# Exposure to radiation 7,225 down 40%
# Thermal injury 363 up 274%
# Physical injury to mimic human injury 6,496 down 17%
Eye irritancy tests 1,457 down 26%
Tests for fever-causing potential (pyrogenicity) 11,749 down 12%
Psychology research 37,873 down 65%
Production of monoclonal antibodies 6,018 down 2%
Number of licensed research projects 4,123 up 3%
Number of Home Office Inspectors 21     SAME

*The difference between numbers of procedures and numbers of animals is due to some animals being used in more than one procedure.
# The Home Office has listed these procedures as being of particular interest.

With thanks to the Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research for compiling the table.

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