20 Animal Testing Statistics That Will Blow Your Mind!

Last Updated: October 15, 2020

Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.

We have all heard about animal testing, but many of us may not realize the sheer magnitude of how many animals get harmed and killed, or of the horror these animals face each year in the United States alone. While we need to do animal testing in some cases, there are steps we can take to ease the animal suffering and alternatives we can employ to avoid it altogether.

Join us while we look at facts and statistics regarding scientific animal testing, and we’ll also look at some alternatives that scientists are beginning to employ.

Top 20 Animal Testing Facts and Statistics

Animal testing infographic
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  1. Over 100 million experiments are conducted on animals in the United States alone each year.
  2. 52% of Americans are against animal testing.
  3. Scientists conduct experiments on all different types of rodents, frogs, dogs, cats, fish, monkeys, and birds.
  4. Many times the symptoms and treatments found in animal tests do not translate to humans.
  5. Women are more inclined to be against animal testing than men.
  6. There are more than 50 alternatives to animal testing.
  7. Animals must face all kinds of horrible tests, including breathing toxic gases, being restrained for hours or days, and some even have holes drilled into their skulls, or their skin burned off.
  8. The National Institute of Health (NIH) owns more than 7000 monkeys.
  9. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) owns 361 monkeys as of 2017.
  10. Poorly designed experiments and a lack of proper documentation are the reason many treatments do not translate to humans.
  11. NIH has increased the use of its animals involved in painful research by 50% since 2014.
  12. Despite animal testing, more than 100,000 people die each year from prescription drugs.
  13. The Animal Welfare Act does not protect 95% of test animals.
  14. Scientists conduct 49.4% of their research on guinea pigs, rabbits, and hamsters.
  15. Scientists can legally perform any experiment they want on animals, no matter how painful it might be, even for the most insignificant reason.
  16. As of 2020, NIH and the FDA have five years to come up with a detailed plan to reduce or eliminate the use of monkeys, dogs, and cats.
  17. Universities conduct half of all animal experiments.
  18. For every animal used in research, an estimated 14 die on the roadway.
  19. The number of dogs used in research fell from 200,000, in 1979, to less than 60,000 in 2018.
  20. The top three animal testing countries in order are China, the United States, and Japan.

Estimation of the Top 10 Animal Testing Countries in the World :

* Numbers represent annual tests performed by each country (million)

*Source: Cruelty Free International

Why Are Animals Used in Research?

Scientists use animal research to learn more about a wide range of health problems that affect humans and animals. Some studies require a living host, and when the procedure is too dangerous, or painful for a human, the tests are often run on animals. Many animals are biologically like humans in many ways, despite their differences. Similarities in eye structure and lung operation are just two examples of things that can be studied in an animal so we can use it on a human later. Scientists can also view their test subject throughout its entire life due to the short lifespan seen in many animals.

The animals used for experimental studies include monkeys, cats, dogs, birds, fish, guinea pigs, mice, rabbits, and more. Most studies take place on rodents, mainly the guinea pig, which is where the phrase “I’m not your guinea pig” and other similar expressions began.

scientist testing cows
Image Credit: Jenoche, Shutterstock

What are the Laws Surrounding Animal Testing?

The Animal Welfare Act is the only law in America regarding the testing of animals, and it doesn’t cover approximately 95% of the animals used for testing. Laboratories are not required to disclose what happens to animals that are not covered by the Animal Welfare Act. Recently some new requirements have been put in place by Congress to limit funding to institutions like NIH and FDA if they don’t submit detailed plans for the reduction or elimination of the use of animals in their facilities within the next five years. The Public Health Service (PHS) has policies dictating the care for laboratory vertebrae, but most experts consider them inadequate because they lack the means to enforce the policy.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is also responsible for overseeing laboratories that use animals. However, they are underfunded and understaffed, and can only ensure compliance from a fraction of the total number of facilities.

What Are The Alternatives to Animal Testing?

There are more than fifty alternatives to animal testing available to scientists who wish to move away from living animals, and we’ll detail a few of them in this section.

  • Scientists can use human blood from volunteers to test for fever causing contaminants in intravenous medications. This alternative can save the lives of thousands of rabbits each year who commonly fill this need.
  • Several types of synthetic skin can test for skin irritations and corrosions, saving thousands of rabbits each year that now test cosmetics and medications.
  • Scientists can use bovine and chicken eyes from slaughtered animals to detect eye irritants instead of living rabbits.
  • The Fish Threshold Method is a way to reduce the number of fish required by some experiments by up to 70%.
  • A 3T3 Neutral Red Uptake Phototoxicity Test can remove the need to use mice to check medications and cosmetics for sunlight-induced phototoxicity.

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Conclusion

We hope you have enjoyed reading over our look into the scientific testing on living animals. As you have probably discovered, there are several ways in which we can improve the situation for animals. We can use alternative methods when possible, and we can require scientists to be open about their work and why they need to run tests on a living animal. We can also release animals that have made it through the testing so they can enjoy the remainder of their life.

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Featured Image: unoL, Shutterstock