Animal experiment statistics

The annual statistics publication relates to scientific procedures 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 procedures taking place in Great Britain and publishes an annual report in July, which details the procedures 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 procedures carried out on animals; the number of animals experimented on; the species and genetic status of the animals experimented on; the purpose of the procedures; and the severity of suffering the procedures inflicted on the animals.

7% decrease in animal experiments in 2018


There was a decrease of just 7% in experiments on animals (3.52 million) in GB laboratories in 2018 announced by the Home Office on 18th July 2019. The total number of animals used for the first time was 3,443,768 (3.72 million, 2017) a decrease of only 7.5% on the previous year.

The creation of genetically modified animals who were bred but not used in experiments accounted for 48.8% (1.72 million), down 9.7% on the previous year (1.90 million, 2017). 729,163 genetically modified animals were used in experiments.

1.00 million experiments were conducted on animals for basic research in 2018. This accounted for 57.5% of all remaining animal experiments (1.72 million experiments), which were down 0.1% on the previous year (1.90 million, 2017). 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 7% drop in research on animals in 2018 – but it’s too little too late for the animals still suffering in GB laboratories. 

– Carla Owen, CEO

Further 2018 statistics

The 1,802,030 experimental procedures completed in 2018 included 4,481 procedures on 2909 dogs, 3207 procedures on 2472 primates, 159 procedures on 27 cats and 10,424 procedures on 68 horses. Further experiments were carried out on mice, 59.9% (2.57 million procedures); fish, 16.5% (514,340 procedures); rats, 9.5% (177,904 procedures) and sheep, 3.0% (53,672 procedures).

Page last modified on August 15, 2019 2:26 pm

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