Animal experiment statistics

The annual statistics publication relates to scientific experiments performed using living animals under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

Regulated procedures are defined in the 1986 Act as any procedure applied to a protected animal for an experimental or other scientific purpose, or for an educational purpose, that may have the effect of causing an animal pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm equivalent to, or higher than, that caused by the introduction of a needle in accordance with good veterinary practice. In addition, the breeding of an animal is a regulated procedure if the animal is bred from, or is the descendant of, an animal whose genes have mutated or have been modified and if this modification may have the potential to cause harm.

The Home Office collects information on regulated experiments taking place in Great Britain and publishes an annual report in July, which details the experiments that took place in the previous calendar year. The full reports are available to read on the website.

The information collected and published by the Home Office includes: the number of experiments carried out on animals; the number of animals experimented on; the species and genetic status of the animals experimented on; the purpose of the experiments; and the severity of suffering the experiments inflicted on the animals.

3.4% decrease in animal experiments in 2019


There was a decrease of just 3.4% in experiments on animals (3.40 million) in GB laboratories in 2019 announced by the Home Office on 16 July 2020. The total number of animals used for the first time was 3.32 million (3.44 million in 2018), also only a decrease of 3.4% on the previous year.

The creation of genetically modified animals who were bred but not used in experiments accounted for 50.1% of all animals (1,666,490 animals), down 3.0% on the previous year (1,717,201 in 2018).

Just under 1 million experiments were conducted on animals for basic research in 2019. This accounted for 56.9% of all animal experiments (1.73 million experiments), which is up 0.2% on the previous year. Basic research aims to answer scientists’ questions about specific knowledge gaps, often for medical research, in the hope that it will lead to treatment for human diseases.

Carla Owen, CEOWe cautiously welcome the 3.4% drop in research on animals in 2019 – but it’s too little too late for the animals still suffering in GB laboratories. 

– Carla Owen, CEO

Further 2019 statistics

The 1,729,646 experiments completed in 2019 included 4,227 experiments on 2,679 dogs (down 5.7%), 2,850 experiments on 2,156 primates (down 12.8%), 131 experiments on 28 cats (down 17.6%) and 10,512 experiments on 43 horses (up 0.8%). Furthermore, the majority of experiments were carried out on mice, 60.6% (1.05 million experiments); fish, 16.1% (278,860 experiments); rats, 9.4% (162,669 experiments) and sheep, 3.1% (53,236 experiments).

Page last modified on August 19, 2020 3:14 pm

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