Rise in use of laboratory animals – nearly 200 million animals die in experiments each year

Annually, about 80 million laboratory animals are used worldwide in animal testing. Additionally, tens of millions of animals are killed in laboratories in research beyond animal testing.

The organisation Cruelty Free International (CFI) released a report estimating the number of animals used in tests in 2015. Collecting accurate figures is difficult because not all countries keep statistics of animals used in testing and the statistical methods used are not identical.

CFI calculated that the total number of animals used in scientific research in 2015 was 192.1 million. This number includes animals used in research beyond actual animal tests, such as animals used in breeding, maintenance of GM strains or tissue harvesting.

A similar estimate of animals used in experiments was done on data for year 2005, when the estimated number of animals used was 115.2 million. So, in a period of ten years, the number has risen by nearly 80 million animals. Part of the rise can be explained by a more accurate assessment method and a change in statistical methods. Still, it is obvious that the total number of animals used in experiments has increased. The organisation’s calculations were based on animal test data published by 37 countries as well as a predictive model that is based on published studies from 142 countries.

Use of animals in experiments must be addressed

With an estimated 20.5 million animals used, China was the highest user of animals in experiments. Japan, with 15 million, 10 million was also exceeded by the United States, as the country is estimated to have used 14.6 million animals in experiments. Other top users of animals are Canada, Australia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Germany and France.

CFI did separate calculations on the number of animal tests involving dogs and monkeys. According to their estimates, more than 207,000 tests were conducted on dogs and more than 158,000 on monkeys in 2015.

“Despite growing public concern and increasing availability of more humane and human-relevant non-animal methods, animals continue to be used in cruel and unreliable tests all over the world”, says Katy Taylor from CFI.

Taylor is one of the researchers behind the report. She works for CFI as an expert on animal testing issues.

According to Taylor, their estimates suggest there has been a significant increase in the use of laboratory animals worldwide in a ten-year period. “The numbers of tests estimated to have used dogs and monkeys globally is staggering. We appeal to the world’s decision-makers to do something about this NOW”, she insists.

In Finland, the number of animals used annually in experiments is more than 100, 000. When you include the use of animals for other scientific purposes, more than 250,000 animals are killed in Finland every year for scientific research. In Finland Animalia is currently collecting signatures in a petition demanding that the Finnish government reduce animal tests and fund alternative research methods. A link to the petition can be found below the article.

Image: Andrew Skorow

Translation: Satu Ranta

References (each link will open in a new tab)

Cruelty Free Internationalin uutinen 24.4.2020. On World Day for Animals in Laboratories we reveal the number of animal tests worldwide

Katy Taylor & Laura Rego Alvarez 24.2.2020. An Estimate of the Number of Animals Used for Scientific Purposes Worldwide in 2015

Statistics for Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland (in Finnish)

Animalia petition for reducing animal tests and increasing funding for non-animal approaches (in Finnish)


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