Animal Testing – numbers and facts


Animal testing,also known as animal experimentation, animal research, and in vivo testing, is the use of non-human animals in experiments.

Millions are killed yearly and not a single one of these animal tests has ever been formally proved to be relevant to or able to accurately predict human health effects.


Pesticides must be tested on dogs, who are shoved into “inhalation chambers” where they try in vain to escape the deadly poisons that are pumped in.


Animals used by laboratories are largely supplied by specialist dealers.

Sources differ for vertebrate and invertebrate animals. Most laboratories breed and raise flies and worms themselves, using strains and mutants supplied from a few main stock centers.

For vertebrates, sources include :

*breeders who supply purpose-bred animals;

*businesses that trade in  animals;

*dealers who supply animals sourced from pounds, auctions, and
newspaper /web ads.

100 million animals yearly worldwide

Worldwide it is estimated that the number of vertebrate animals—from zebrafish to non-human primates—ranges from the tens of millions to more than 100 million used annually.

115 million animals are used in laboratory experiments around the world each year – animal experimentation is an industry without borders.

Sources of laboratory animals vary between countries and species; most animals are purpose-bred, while others are caught in the wild or supplied by dealers who obtain them from auctions and pounds.


The research is conducted inside universities, medical schools, pharmaceutical companies, farms, defense establishments, and commercial facilities that provide animal-testing services to industry.

It includes pure research such as
academic, university research
pharmaceutical, new drugs are tested on animals
developmental biology,
behavioral studies,
biomedical research,
behavioral research,
drug testing ,
toxicology tests,
cosmetics testing.
Animals are also used for education, breeding, and defense research.

Research is usually carried out in the pharmaceutical industry, or by universities in commercial partnerships.

The practice is regulated to various degrees in different countries.


The United States military has a long history of conducting cruel animal experiments.

Each year, approximately 342,000 primates, dogs, pigs, goats, sheep, rabbits, cats, and other animals are hurt and killed by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) in experiments that rank among the most painful conducted in this country. The cost to taxpayers for these military experiments is estimated to be in excess of $225 million annually.

Top Secret

Military testing is classified “top secret,” and it is very hard to get information about it.

From published research, we do know that armed forces facilities all over the United States test all manner of weaponry on animals, from Soviet AK-47 rifles to biological and chemical warfare agents to nuclear blasts.

—- beagles were exposed to total-body irradiation, studied for one to seven days, and then killed. The experimenter concluded that radiation affects the gallbladder————

Wound Labs

The Department of Defense has operated “wound labs” since 1957 to train medics and soldiers in how to treat traumatic injuries.
At these sites, animals―who are sometimes conscious or semiconscious―are suspended from slings and shot with high-powered weapons to inflict battle-like injuries for military surgical practice.

In 1983, in response to public pressure, Congress limited the use of dogs and cats in these training exercises. PETA is now demanding that the military stop shooting, burning, mutilating, poisoning, and killing thousands of goats, pigs, and monkeys in similar exercises every year.

In 2006, a Navy corpsman told The New York Times that instructors “shot [his pig] twice in the face with a 9-millimeter pistol, and then six times with an AK-47 and then twice with a 12-gauge shotgun. And then he was set on fire.”

In 2008, the San Antonio Express-News described a trauma course in which 990 living goats had their legs broken and amputated: “Instructor Armand Fermin places a tree trimmer over a joint in the leg, closes it, applies pressure and a ‘crack’ echoes inside the dimly lit tent at Fort Sam Houston.”

Internal military documents obtained by PETA through Freedom of Information Act requests show that monkeys were exposed to chemical-weapon nerve-agent stimulants, after which an Army medic compared his monkey’s apparently painful reaction during the exercise to “a chiwawa [sic] shitting razor blades.”


The idea that animals might not feel pain as human beings feel it traces back to the 17th-century French philosopher, René Descartes, who argued that animals do not experience pain and suffering because they lack consciousness.


Animal Testing occurs regularly throughout the European Union (EU). While it occurs more frequently in areas such as the United Kingdom (UK), France and Germany, animal testing still plays a large role in research and drug development around Europe.

European Statistics for Animal Testing

European statistics showed that

France used 2.3 million animals in 2005

Germany used 1.8 million animals in that same year

UK statistics showed that

France used 2.3 million animals!

Germany used 2.4 million animals!

While Finland and Ireland both decreased their use of animals.

Sweden, Spain and Greece all increased their use of animals, either doubling or near-doubling their use.


Each year in the United States, an estimated 70 million animals are maimed, blinded, scalded, force-fed chemicals, genetically manipulated, and otherwise hurt and killed in the name of science, by private institutions, household product and cosmetics companies, government agencies, educational institutions, and scientific centers.

Substances we use everyday, such as eye shadow, soap, furniture polish and oven cleaner, may be tested on rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, dogs, cats, and other animals.

These tests are mainly used to test the degree of harmfulness of products and their ingredients. No antidoes are ever sought, so animal tests cannot be used to prevent or treat potential human injuries.


These tests are not required by the law, and they are only done to protect companies from consumer lawsuits.

USA, pets in research

We all know dogs or cats who were adopted from an animal shelter or rescued by a kind person. But some pets aren’t as fortunate and wind up in the terrifying world of “Class B” dealers, who buy up animals, transport them to holding facilities and then onto laboratories for use in harmful experiments in an often long and stressful journey.


There are currently seven active Class B dealers in the U.S. who round up thousands of dogs and cats each year and sell them to research facilities.

They obtain these pets from flea markets, auctions, shelters, and other so-called “random sources,” including from shady middle-men known as bunchers, who often resort to outright theft of pets and misrepresentation when responding to free-to-good-home ads.


Although there are no actual figures, Stephens says his “best guess” would be that about 10 million animals a year are used in toxicity testing, mostly mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and then lesser numbers of dogs, monkeys and other species.
Historically, toxicity has been identified by injecting chemicals into animals and seeing whether they were harmed.

Toxicology testing  is conducted by pharmaceutical companies testing drugs, or by contract animal testing facilities, such as Huntingdon Life Sciences, on behalf of a wide variety of customers.

According to 2005 EU figures, around one million animals are used every year in Europe in toxicology tests; which are about 10% of all procedures.

According to Nature, 5,000 animals are used for each chemical being tested, with 12,000 needed to test pesticides.

The tests are conducted without anesthesia, because interactions between drugs can affect how animals detoxify chemicals, and may interfere with the results.

Toxicology tests are used to examine finished products such as pesticides, medications, food additives, packing materials, and air freshener, or their chemical ingredients.
The substances are applied to the skin or dripped into the eyes; injected intravenously, intramuscularly, or subcutaneously; inhaled either by placing a mask over the animals and restraining them, or by placing them in an inhalation chamber; or administered orally, through a tube into the stomach, or simply in the animal’s food.

Doses may be given once, repeated regularly for many months, or for the lifespan of the animal.


Testing methods, therefore, are determined by manufacturers.

The very unreliability of animal tests may make them appealing to some companies, since these tests allow manufacturers to put virtually any product on the market.

Companies can also use the fact that their products were tested to help defend themselves against consumer lawsuits. Others believe that testing on animals helps them compete in the marketplace:

Consumers demand products with exciting new ingredients, such as alpha-hydroxy acids, and animal tests are often considered the easiest and cheapest way to “prove” that new ingredients are “safe.”

Animal Testing : Dogs

 Despite being favourite companion animals, cats and dogs are forced into battle against some of our most serious ailments – even though there is a wealth of evidence demonstrating that they make hopelessly unreliable ‘models’ of human beings.

Dogs are also used for testing non-medical substances. During the 1990s, thousands of beagles have been used to test the safety of agricultural chemicals, industrial substances, food additives and household products. These experiments are carried out by chemical companies and contract research laboratories.

Product testing, together with the safety assessment of new drugs, account for most of the experiments (68 per cent) on dogs.

Silent Suffering

Most experiments on dogs are conducted without any anaesthetics. Dogs are most commonly employed for toxicity tests which rarely use any form of pain relief.

This is because experiments can last for weeks or months and, in any case, an anaesthetic may interfere with the test substance, so making it even more difficult to make the data relevant to people.

Although the findings from safety tests are usually kept secret for commercial reasons, the UK’s Centre for Medicines Research has compiled information from industry sources which list symptoms and injuries experienced by dogs during drug trials. These included vomiting, diarrhoea, convulsions, shivering, anorexia and hyper-excitement; plus eye, liver, kidney, heart and lung damage, and of course death.

Dogs in heart research

Dogs are commonly used to investigate the causes and consequences of heart disease. An unconvincing version of the human ailment is introduced by tying off, or otherwise blocking, blood vessels to the dog’s heart.

Cats are used for research into stroke, whilst dogs are commonly employed to investigate heart disease; both are used for migraine research. Experimenters try to mimic human disease by artificially inducing the condition, or its consequences, in animals. So, at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, cats were brain-damaged following a deliberately induced ‘stroke’, produced by blocking arteries in the animal’s head.

Cats for Research

The other major use of these animals, especially cats, is in physiological research – to investigate how the body works. One technique employed by physiologists is to damage or interfere with a part of the body and then observe the resulting effects.

Usually dubbed ‘fundamental biological research’ because they don’t necessarily claim any practical application, such experiments are often motivated by scientific curiosity, and account for much of the work done on cats.

A popular subject for physiologists is the cat’s nervous system. For instance, at the University of Wales in Cardiff, cats (and rats) were used for research into nerve cells from a part of the brain called the thalamus. To obtain brain tissue, the rats were decapitated. In the case of cats, they were anaesthetised, the skull surgically opened and the membranes lining the inside of the head removed. They were then killed, the optic nerve severed and the brain removed to obtain the nerve cells for experiment. In another example, cats were subjected to spinal cord damage at the University of Cambridge to investigate nerve pathways.

Another favourite area for physiologists is the cat’s visual system and, historically, many animals have been blinded to investigate the visual cortex. A 5-year survey of scientific journals during the 1980s revealed 156 published papers on ‘sight deprivation’ in the world’s laboratories.

Silent Suffering

Around half of the experiments on cats use anaesthetics at some stage and many of these animals are ‘fortunate’ in that they are killed at the end of the procedure before the anaesthetic wears off – unless, that is, the experimenter has made a mistake with the anaesthetic and the animal feels everything. Such errors are never mentioned in scientific reports or government statistics, yet just as in human therapeutic surgery, they must occur; the difference is that people often live to tell the tale.


This year the survey has found that the UK’s stray and abandoned dog numbers are at an 11 year high with over 126,176 dogs being picked up by Local Authorities over the last 12 months, an increase of 4% on the previous year which equates to 345 stray dogs being found every day.

Over three and a half million animal procedures a year are currently carried out for UK biomedical research and testing. Mice, rats and other rodents account for 82% of the total, with most of the remainder being fish (13%) and birds (4%). From an individual perspective, each of us enjoys the medical benefits of animal research from the use of three mice and one rat over our entire lifespan.

n 2010, 3,727 dogs were used in UK medical research. This is half the number of unwanted strays that are put down.

All dogs and cats used in research are purpose bred. In 2010, just 152 cats were used in research.


Most of the dogs used in research are beagles due to their convenient size and docile nature.

Larger dogs, such as Labradors are often used for orthopedic research.

Just as mice and rats are unique in being highly genetically selected for research needs, pigs unique in their use as a food source, dogs are a special sort of laboratory animal in that they have been companion animals for many centuries. Because of this emotional tie that many feel toward dogs, their use in research has been an area of public concern.

Dogs and science

Because of their history of domestication and tractability dogs have a long history as research subjects. Early studies on blood circulation and drug administration used dogs. Their use in diabetes research has been well documented. The Jackson Lab, in the early years, conducted well known genetics research using dogs. They have also been used, along with non-human primates for maternal deprivation studies.



There are three categories of research dog—purpose bred, random source and conditioned.

Purpose-bred dogs are bred specifically for research and obtained from Class A dealers who raise all their dogs in a closed colony on their own premises.

Random-source dogs are gotten either directly from shelters or from Class B dealers:

these dealers purchase the dogs either from individuals or shelters and then sell them to research labs.

Once random-source dogs have been quarantined, vaccinated, and determined free of parasites and any other medical or biological anomaly, they are considered “conditioned.”

Every institution will have specific regulations for the receiving and processing of dogs, whatever their category.

The argument over whether or not to use stray/abandoned dogs for research is part of the larger issue of animals in society, and the range of attitudes towards them. Shelters point out the dilemma they face over confronting owner neglect, questioning whether a dog disappearing can be, in reality, tied to dealer activity. The care and housing of greyhound dogs used in racing points out another example of the spectrum, with people viewing a greyhound as either a commondity, a financial tool, or a househould companion. Proponents of using retired greyhounds as research subjects, note that these dogs have known genetic records, have a defined health status and vaccination history, and are well used to living in caged quarters. And, unlike pet dogs, when their usefullness is over, they are euthanized.  ( USA )

Walker’s budget, stray dogs and UW research ( 2011 )

Walker’s budget plan for 2011-’13 amends a state statute (174.13) that allows dog pounds to sell — for $1 — unclaimed stray canines to public universities for “scientific or educational purposes.”

  1. France, home to the world’s largest cosmetics company, L’Oréal -animal testing
    1. Holland, The European research organisation ERC (European Research Council) has allowed a grant of €2.5 million to Dutch animal genome researcher Prof Dr Martien Groenen, Wageningen University and Research Centre.The scientist received the ‘Advanced Grant’ for his quality as European research leader
  1. In Portugal in 1994, the BUAV was able to infiltrate a number of laboratories and film dogs supplied from local dog shelters.
  1. IIn 1995 in Poland, just shortly after it applied to join the EU, BUAV investigators uncovered appalling evidence of animal suffering in laboratories and the widespread practice of using stray animals and ex-pets in experiments.

The conditions these animals were kept in were some of the worst we’d ever seen

  1. More recently, the BUAV obtained evidence that Belgium was breaching European legislation by allowing the widespread use of stray cats and dogs for research. Cats and dogs were filmed in a number of Belgian laboratories, some of whom were being kept in appalling conditions::::Government protect the animal research from activists ( see Holland example )ANIMAL RESEARCH – THE WAY OF SUCH A SILENCE( Holand)5. Limits to openness
    The following factors are frequently cited as obstacles to full disclosure in the public debate on
    animal testing:
    1. the safety of individuals who work with laboratory animals may be put at risk;
    2. premature disclosure of information may be a negative impact on the competitive
    advantage of the information’s owner;
    3. disclosure that may lead to legal proceedings slows the speed of innovation and has a
    negative impact on the Netherlands’ competitiveness.
    5.1. Safety
    Animal Experiments Openness Code – KNAW, VSNU, NFU, April 2008
    The key question is this context is whether openness will put the persons or institutions involved
    at greater risk. To begin with, it should be noted that the number of activists who actually avail
    themselves of unlawful means is very small. The relevant groups (Respect for Animals and the
    Coalition Against Animal Testing) know precisely where in vivo research is carried out. It is also
    relatively easy for them to use public sources (the Internet, Chamber of Commerce, the
    institutions’ own websites, publications in journals) to find out who bears executive responsibility
    and what research programmes are under way, sometimes right down to the names of the
    programme managers or research coordinators.The second observation is that activists tend to work in a structured manner and to pursue
    strategic objectives, often for many years and with steely consistency. Examples include their
    campaign to close down the Huntingdon Life Sciences laboratory and to prevent the building of
    new laboratories in the ScienceLink Park in Venray. Targets are never chosen simply at random.
    Regardless of the above observations, there is an urgent need to ensure the safety of individuals
    who work with laboratory animals as much as possible. Animal experiments are carried out in the
    interests of human and animal health, a view upheld by a democratic majority that has made such
    experiments a legal requirement. Those who conduct animal experiments therefore deserve
    protection on the basis of this democratic principle. The task of protecting them is primarily the
    responsibility of the institutions or enterprises where the research is being conducted, which must
    see to it that the facilities and the data stored there are well protected. They can also draw on the
    knowledge and experience of institutions that have come under previous attack. The safety
    precautions include screening future staff (including interns), securing the facilities physically and
    providing for the necessary data security (including addresses and telephone numbers). The
    General Intelligence and Security Service [Algemene Inlichtingen en Veiligheidsdienst, AIVD] and
    the police force bear secondary – but no less important – responsibility.Reports from Sweden and Denmark – where there is more openness on this subject than in the
    Netherlands – do not suggest that researchers or institutions are at greater risk; on the contrary.
    Reports from the United Kingdom have shown that a policy of non-disclosure is simply
    counterproductive; as a result, UK institutions and enterprises have deliberately pursued a policy
    of greater openness concerning their animal experiments in recent years.

    It would be advisable to analyse the lessons learned in these countries and consider whether the
    methods used there can also be applied in the Netherlands, taking into account the particulars of
    its society (including the degree to which it is organised and its laws and regulations), its social
    and political climate and its geographical location.

    A lack of openness may also involve extra risks. People tend to reason that “those who are not
    open probably have something to hide”. Activists are quick to make use of this argument.
    The law pertaining to animal experimentation and the related supervision are extremely strict; the
    procedures are meticulous, both in the Netherlands and most other European countries. It is
    important to publicise this sufficiently, as it is information that is often unknown to a majority of the


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