The general public isn’t aware of what precisely happens to animals in laboratories—nor do they know how many animals are used. The animal testing statistics confirm that many of the products we use were tested on animals. The justification is that doing so ensures these products aren’t dangerous or irritating, and that they’re effective. What most don’t know is that, today, many alternatives can help prevent these cruel experiments on animals and even get the same, if not more accurate, results. 

Below, you’ll find the most important but frightening statistics to gain a better understanding of how extensive the use of animals for research and testing has become. 

The Top 10 Most Important Animal Testing Statistics You Must Know

  • 90% of the new drugs tested on animals don’t ever make it to patients.
  • Almost 560,000 experiments in 2018 were verified to have brought on moderate to severe suffering in the animals they were tested on.
  • More than $420 million has been invested in developing non-animal testing methods.
  • 42% of people in the UK think that animal testing organizations are secretive.
  • If it’s used in medical research, 65% of people are not necessarily against animal experimentation, the facts and statistics show.
  • Every year worldwide, 115 million animals are used in experiments.
  • 71,370 animals suffered pain from experimentation in 2016.
  • The Animal Welfare Act doesn’t protect 95% of the animals used for testing.
  • In 2016, more than $7.3 million in taxpayers’ money was wasted on research that involved animals.
  • 191,766 guinea pigs were used for animal research in the US in 2017.

General Facts About Animal Testing

It’s easy to overlook what happens behind the closed doors of laboratories and enjoy the products, medication, and cosmetics that come from this research. Unfortunately, there’s plenty we don’t know due to the lack of transparency and the inaccurate counts of the animals used in laboratories. Even the small proportion of animals being tested on is more than enough to make us stop in our tracks and think about the products we use daily. 

1. Animal testing facts from 2018 reveal that 90% of new drugs don’t even make it to patients.

(NIH)

The unfortunate truth is that regardless of the numerous tests done on animals for new drugs and medicines, less than 10% are actually considered effective and safe because the results from animal trials fail to deliver quality results in people. The reason for these failed trials is that 55% aren’t effective in treating the condition, while 30% have shown signs that they’re toxic to humans, which couldn’t be confirmed in the animal tests.

2. Another animal testing statistic from 2018 reveals that almost 560,000 experiments are verified to have invoked moderate to severe suffering in the animals being tested on.

(HSI) 

In the UK, the Home Office describes mild suffering as experiencing short-term distress or moderate pain. Severe suffering is defined as experiencing long-lasting distress or pain. In many cases, these animals experience this type of pain or distress throughout the duration of the trial, which can last anywhere from several days to several months or until the animal dies. 

3. In the case of cosmetic animal testing, statistics suggest that 115 million animals worldwide are experimented on yearly.

(Cruelty Free International)

Different countries have different laws regarding the animals that are counted for animal research. For example, in many countries, rodents and rabbits aren’t counted toward the final numbers. Thus, recent research by Cruelty Free International and the Dr. Hadwen Trust can only estimate the number of animals used for experimentation each year. 

4. More than $420 million has been invested in developing non-animal testing methods as per the stats for animal testing.

(ChemicalWatch)

Over the course of 40 years, Procter & Gamble has made significant investments in finding alternatives to animal testing. Their main competitor, Unilever, has also started pushing for a global ban on animal testing. P&G is the first in the beauty sector’s top 10 to actively support legislative reform that prohibits animal testing for cosmetics. The European Parliament voted in May to adopt a resolution that will call for the global ban of animal testing by 2023, with the practice already banned in the EU since 2013.

5. In the case of unnecessary animal testing cruelty, facts reveal that it takes nearly a decade to undergo all the tests necessary to register a single pesticide.

(HSI)

The required animal studies for registration with the US Environmental Protection Agency results in the torture of animals for a prolonged period. It also entails the testing on and subsequent deaths of approximately 10,000 animals. Among them are mice, rabbits, rats, guinea pigs, and even dogs. Unfortunately, even after such extensive testing, many of the research doesn’t reach approval, and the deaths of these animals reap no results. 

6. One critical change to cosmetic animal testing, the facts show, was the Australian Industrial Chemicals Act, which passed the Senate in 2017. 

(SMH)

Although this doesn’t prohibit all animal testing for cosmetics, it bans any results from data gathered via animal testing after July 1, 2018. This may not mean that testing on animals for cosmetics will ultimately end. However, the act will limit and reduce it dramatically. 

7. Animal testing facts and statistics reveal that 42% of people in the UK think organizations that engage in animal testing are secretive. 

(Statista)

Currently, only 34% of people feel the work in organizations that engage in animal testing is necessary for human health. In general, there’s minimal transparency about what happens behind the closed doors of animal testing facilities. This leads to people feeling uneasy about what they don’t see. Without knowing what these companies are doing and what these tests uncover, it’s easy to understand why more and more people prefer alternative options to animal testing. 

Animal Testing Facts: Pros and Cons

As much as we would like to say that animal testing is all bad, there are clear functional aspects of it. In the past, it’s proven to be very beneficial for humans, the environment, and animals as well. Through animal testing, scientists have found cures and treatments to major diseases and illnesses that otherwise would not have been possible. 

This, however, was at a time when no possible alternatives were available. Today many experiments do not necessarily require animals, and many other tests on animals have proven to be useless due to their inaccuracy. 

8. Animal testing statistics from 2016 reveal that 65% of people accept animals in research for medical purposes. 

(Ipsos)

However, these individuals feel this way only if there’s no alternative to animal testing for medical research. The numbers were similar (68%) when individuals were asked the same question in 2014, regardless of the numerous alternatives to animal testing available. For the most part, people aren’t aware of precisely what happens behind the closed doors in the labs, and most likely they prefer it that way.

9. Animal testing statistics from 2018 worldwide reveal that the lifespan of mice is 2–3 years, making them necessary for life cycle studies that are otherwise impossible in human testing.

(Vittana)

The average lifespan of a human can be anywhere between 70 and 80 years of age. This makes it very difficult, if not impossible, for researchers to study and experiment how a drug or chemical will affect a human’s life cycle. This is why the use of mice is very effective—their shorter lives provide the opportunity to do long-term research across a full life cycle. 

10. One of the major animal testing facts on the pros side reminds us that by testing on animals, scientists have found treatments for numerous infections and diseases. 

(Penny Saviour)

As painful as the numbers are to read about the treatment and death of animals during animal testing, some unarguable results couldn’t be achieved without it. Many scientists confirm that without animal testing there wouldn’t be vaccines, medications for heart disease, cancer treatment, and even life-saving transplants. Approximately 70% of the Nobel Prize winners for medicine and physiology made their discoveries through animal research.

11. Stats on animal testing show how the polio vaccine, which was originally tested on animals, vastly reduced the disease’s occurrence rate.

(Procon)

Through animal testing, scientists were able to develop this life-saving vaccine. There were approximately 350,000 occurrences of polio in 1988. With the help of the vaccine, this number was reduced to just 27 cases of polio for 2016. The cases continue to go down with every passing year.

12. Animal experimentation statistics reveal that 71,370 animals suffered pain from experimentation in the US in 2016.

(Procon)

One such experiment, the LD50 test, consists of giving increasing doses of a chemical to animals. The results are successful when they reach a dose that kills 50% of the animals in the experiment. This leads to animals experiencing high levels of pain and discomfort, often shortly before dying. However, no law requires anesthesia to be given to these animals for relief. Of these animals, 1,272 were nonhuman primates, approximately 33,000 were hamsters, 25,000 were guinea pigs, and 6,000 were rabbits. 

13. Stats about animal testing reveal that the Animal Welfare Act doesn’t protect 95% of the animals being tested on.

(Procon)

The majority of the animals used for research are birds, fish, mice, and rats, none of which are protected by the AWA. During 2016, there were 820,812 animals used for research covered by the AWA. According to this percentage, there are approximately 25 million animals left unprotected, leading to potential abuse and mistreatment. There is also very little transparency about the treatment of these animals. 

Animal Testing Cost: Facts and Statistics

The amount of money that goes toward animal testing and experiments is jaw-dropping, to say the least. Unfortunately, most of the money invested doesn’t lead to many new results, as most of the time the final product doesn’t get approved. What most people don’t know is that the majority of animal testing done for educational purposes is paid for by taxpayers. 

14. Animal testing stats reveal that the cost of registering one pesticide is $3 million.

(HSI)

Not only does it take nearly a decade and thousands of animals’ deaths, but the cost of registering a single pesticide with the US Environmental Protection Agency costs millions of dollars. In many cases, the money and animals’ lives lost while attempting to register a single pesticide are fruitless—a minimal number pass the necessary requirements and get registered. 

15. The statistics of animal testing show that in 2016 more than $7.3 million in taxpayer money was wasted on research that involved animals. 

(Procon)

According to the “Wastebook” report by Senator Jeff Flakes, the majority of government funding spent on experiments involving animal testing is wasted. Furthermore, PETA revealed that approximately $56.4 million in government funding allocated for experimentation failed to give useful results, despite years of research. 

Animal Testing Facts and Statistics in the United States

The US continues to lead in using animals for experimentation, even though they’re also the leaders in finding the best alternatives to such cruel testing. There is an interesting contrast between the companies that continue to use animal testing regardless of the available alternatives and the companies conscious of animal cruelty that have already taken steps to eliminate it altogether. 

16. Statistics about animal testing show that in the US alone, as many as 100 million animals die from this annually. 

(PETA)

The animals suffer through many experiments before dying in cruel food, drug, cosmetics, and chemical tests. These numbers include the animals that die in dissection and classroom biology experiments. In many of the cases where animals have been used, there are already advanced non-animal experimentation options available. They’re proven to save time, money, and offer more educational value, all the while reducing animal suffering and death. 

17. Recent animal testing statistics show that 54% of Americans feel testing on animals for medical purposes is acceptable. 

(Statista)

A survey from 2018 reveals that regardless of the numerous alternatives available, more than half of Americans still feel that testing on animals is morally acceptable. Conversely, 43% feel that testing on animals is morally wrong, while a mere 2% feel that it depends on what the testing is for. Just 1% don’t have any opinion regarding animal testing. 

18. Nearly 192,000 guinea pigs were used for animal research in the US as per 2017’s animal testing facts.

(Statista)

These numbers can’t be 100% accurate due to the lack of transparency in many testing facilities. The statistics further reveal that the second most common animal used for testing in the US in 2017 was the rabbit, with 145,841 animals. All other AWA-covered species totaled 109,599. Other farm animals had the lowest numbers, at 22,643, followed by cats at 18,146, and sheep at 14,045.

19. Additional animal testing data reveals that in California alone, 5,504 dogs were used for medical research.

(Procon)

In 2016, California was the leading state in the use of cats and dogs for research and testing. They used more than 2,200 cats and more than 5,500 dogs. Ohio was the leader in using guinea pigs, with 33,797 total animals for 2016, while Massachusetts tested most on primates with 10,583 animals. Many people think that animal testing is only on rabbits and rats in cages—but cats, dogs, and primates are regularly used for testing medications, cosmetics, chemicals, and more.

20. In the case of cosmetic testing on animals, statistics reveal that if the animal isn’t killed during testing, it’s killed when the experiment ends. 

(Humane Society)

Not only do animals suffer through these experiments, but if they do survive, they’re then killed through decapitation, neck-breaking, or asphyxiation. No pain relief is provided throughout the experiments, nor when they’re killed. There’s no protection for the majority of the animals, and many don’t even count toward the high numbers of animals used for experimentation since they aren’t covered by the Animal Welfare Act. 

21. When engaging in animal testing, statistics from 2018 in the United States reveal that the failure rate of these tests is greater than 90%. 

(Green Garage Blog)

This failure rate is across all industries, which includes cosmetics. In the pharmaceutical industry, the failure rate is at least 96%. This reveals that there are little to no results coming out of the continuous torture and death of thousands of animals yearly, with only a tiny percentage of the products reaching the market. Regardless of these staggering statistics, the United States, and many other countries, still feel the need to pursue this type of research, ignoring many other non-animal alternatives. 

22. Animal testing statistics in the US show that the US was the leading user of animals for testing in 2016.

(Statista)

The US was the worldwide leader, with 20 million animals known to be used for research and testing. China was close behind with 16 million animals used for experiments. The European Union came in third with 11.5 million animals, and New Zealand used 240,000.

23. The E.P.A. notes that by 2025, animal testing statistics in the United States will show a 30% reduction in the number of studies using animal testing.

(NYTimes)

The goal of Andrew Wheeler, E.P.A. Administrator, is to eliminate animal testing using mammals by 2035, with some case-based approvals. The agency has also promised to invest at least $4.25 million into the further development of alternatives to using animals to test chemicals. As a major contributor to the current numbers of mammals being tested, this promise will drastically lower the overall statistics in the future.

Animal Testing Statistics Worldwide

On a global scale, animal testing is challenging to control and track since many countries have different requirements as to the allowed number of animals in labs, animal protection laws, and principles. One thing’s for sure, the numbers aren’t going down. In fact, they’re increasing, even with the many available alternatives that can make testing on animals obsolete. With a worldwide ban on testing on animals for cosmetics in the works by the EU and more companies becoming concerned with animal rights, there’s hope yet. 

24. Animal testing death statistics reveal that there’s no clear decline in the number of animal experiments. 

(Cruelty Free International)

Although many alternatives have been found, and many tests are proven to be useless, animal testing has not declined. In China, the use of animals for experimentation has increased. And in Europe, the numbers are nearly the same as they were during the 1980s and 1990s. 

25. In 2011, 2,785 dogs and 1,306 monkeys were used for dose toxicity tests in Europe.

(Cruelty Free International)

The animals are given doses of drugs that cause many ongoing side effects for anywhere from two weeks to nine months. Nevertheless, it’s been proven these tests are ineffective in showing drug toxicity levels in humans. 

26. In 2018, shocking facts about animal testing reveal that there were 123 skin irritation tests done on rabbits in the UK.

(Cruelty Free International)

There are many experiments for toxicological testing that have approved non-animal alternatives. However, these animal-based tests were still being conducted in the UK in 2018, along with 40 eye irritation tests, 10,275 acute lethal toxicity tests, and 638 pyrogenicity experiments on live rabbits. This proves that governments and companies overlook the available alternatives and still opt for the harmful and inhumane testing on animals. 

27. As for unnecessary animal testing costs, statistics from 2018 indicate that 56% of animal experimentation was for basic research.

(Cruelty Free International)

Of the 1.8 million experiments using animals in the UK, approximately one million were for basic research. University researchers and their curiosity drove the majority of these. As more than 50% of all the tests were done in universities, the majority of the funding came from taxpayers. As per these statistics, only 13% of the experiments done on animals were actually required by regulators.

28. 85% of the monkeys used for experiments in the EU were imported from outside the region. 

(Cruelty Free International)

Specifically, the majority of the primates used for experimentation in 2018 were imported from Africa and Southeast Asia. 

29. As for the animal testing that results in death, statistics from 2018 worldwide reveal that 75,000 animals are killed yearly by just one single animal testing company.

(About Animal Testing)

The leading animal testing company, Huntingdon Life Sciences, kills the most animals annually. Of the animals killed, approximately 87% are rodents. 

30. 80% of the primates used for experiments in the US are brought in from China.

(CNBC)

The new 15% levy that the Trump administration imposed on all Chinese imports will significantly affect current animal experimentation on primates. While many US researchers claim their research is impossible without primates, there are significant advancements in non-animal testing that they’ll be forced to use.

31. Statistics on animal testing reveal that Germany used 2.8 million animals for research in 2017.

(Doctors Against)

These numbers are similar to those in 2015 and 2016 and put Germany in a close second to the UK. Regardless, the numbers are slightly lower than they were in 2014, when Germany used 3.3 million animals. As with most other countries, Germany primarily used rodents for testing, but there were also 718 cats and 3,300 dogs. The country has also increased the number of experiments using monkeys from 2,462 to 3,472.

32. Current animal testing statistics and facts reveal that 12.1 million tests on animals are performed yearly in Europe.

(About Animal Testing)

As it’s difficult to determine the exact numbers due to lack of transparency and not all animals being accounted for, Britain is considered to be the leader with nearly 3 million experiments on animals yearly. In close second comes France with the cosmetics company L’Oréal still testing its cosmetics on animals. France also presents the most significant opposition to the expected ban on cosmetics testing.

33. In the case of medical animal testing, statistics reveal that in 2018, 202,000 animals were used in medical tests just in Britain. 

(Cruelty Free International)

Many countries still have laws and regulations requiring animal testing before clinical trials can begin on humans for medication. The number of animals used in Britain is just the tip of the iceberg—it doesn’t include the millions more animals used to conduct medical research that’s more basic in nature. Approximately 81% of experiments on monkeys and 60% of trials on dogs in 2018 were to test human medication.

34. PETA has animal testing facts revealing that more than 750,000 lab animals were used for research in 2015 in the United States. 

(PETA)

The numbers that the US Department of Agriculture published in 2015 may seem extreme. Still, they’re only a small fraction of the real number of animals used because approximately 95% of the actual total isn’t covered by the AWA. There will never be a way to really see the depth of the animal abuse nor the number of animal deaths due to the lack of transparency and restrictions in counting.

35. The animal testing facts and figures from the UK show that 3.52 million procedures were done on animals in the United Kingdom in 2018.

(Pharma Times)

This is a 7% decrease since 2017. 2018’s numbers include 1.1 million tests on mice, 170,665 tests on rats, 146,680 tests on birds, 11,159 tests on rabbits, 297,881 tests on fish, and 6,445 tests on guinea pigs. Testing on larger animals includes 3,207 experiments on monkeys, 4,481 tests on dogs, 159 on cats, and 10,424 on horses.

FAQs

1. What is animal testing?

(Cruelty Free International)

Testing on an animal usually consists of an experiment where an animal undergoes injections, forced feeding, the inhalation or consumption of toxic chemicals, and many other procedures that are likely to cause them distress, pain, suffering, long-lasting harm, and ultimately, death. All this is done for research on medicines, cosmetics, and other products in hopes of determining their toxicity, effectiveness, and potential danger to humans. 

2. What percentage of animals survive animal testing?

(Haaretz)

Recent statistics from Israel reveal that only 3% of the animals used for testing survive the lab experiments. Unfortunately, animals that survive are either used for new trials or are killed when the research is over. Once scientists get what they need, they have no use for the animals. Percentages are similar in other countries as well. 

3. What percentage of animal tests fail?

(Inside Sources)

The National Institutes of Health recognize that approximately 95% of all drug safety experiments on animals fail in human trials. Furthermore, 90% of all basic research, of which most includes animal testing, doesn’t lead to any effective therapies for humans. 

4. How many animals die from animal testing in the world?

(PETA)

It’s near impossible to give an exact number of how many animals die yearly around the globe due to animal testing and experimentation. It’s estimated that more than 100 million die annually in the United States alone. 

5. Why should we not use animals for testing?

(Lone Star College)

Although there’ve been many advances in medicine with the help of animal testing in the past, today, there are many non-animal experimentation alternatives for most of the current research done today. These alternatives are practical, proven, and less expensive, and they don’t harm animals. 

6. How do animals benefit from animal testing?

(FBR)

With the help of animal experimentation, there have been many advances in veterinary medicine as well. There’s been significant advancement in a variety of life-extending treatments for pets, wildlife, and many endangered species. 

7. Why is animal testing important?

(AnimalResearch)

As unfortunate as the outcomes are for the animals themselves, there are essential benefits in using them for research. Where alternatives aren’t available, animals are used for the advancement of scientific understanding, as models for the study of diseases, for the development of drugs and treatments for many conditions, and to protect people, other animals, and the environment. 

8. When did animal testing start?

(Wikipedia)

Animal testing started as early as the 3rd and 4th centuries BCE by the Greeks, with the first scientists known to perform experiments on animals being Erasistratus and Aristotle. 

9. Which countries test cosmetics on animals?

(CosmeticsDesign)

Currently, 40 countries around the globe have banned cosmetics testing on animals, and the EU Parliament is urging for a complete worldwide ban on cosmetics testing. Although the US passed a ban on cosmetics testing in 2015, it still hasn’t been implemented. Japan and China still allow animal testing for cosmetics, while France is the most prominent opponent to the expected world ban.

Conclusion

Although there’ve been many positive things that came out of animal testing, today, more and more people, companies, and governments are seeing that most testing may be obsolete. Many available alternatives can quickly reduce animal testing statistics to a minimum and stop animal cruelty in labs.

Regardless of how one looks at animal testing, it’s easy to see that there’s room for improvement. As a whole, we need to find more alternative options to reduce the suffering of these animals drastically. 

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