Statistics Of Scientific Procedures On Living Animals, Great Britain 2008
Government statistics show a substantial increase in animal experiments in Great Britain during 2008, with an estimated 3.7 million animal experiments conducted during the year, involving 3.6 million animals. This represents an increase in animal experiments conducted of 14% over 2007.
Abstract points excerpted from report:
Just under 3.7 million scientific procedures were started in 2008, a rise of 454,000 (14%) on 2007, mainly due to increases in the use of fish (+278,000 or 85%), mice (+197,000 or 9%), amphibians (+15,000, or 81%), pigs (+3,600 or 114%), sheep (+3,100 or 9%) and turkeys (+1,500 or 135%). Use of non-human primates rose by slightly over 600 (+16%), due to an increase of 1,000 (+33%) procedures involving old world primates and a fall of 400 (-53%) procedures using new world primates.
There were falls in the use of most other species, in particular rats (-30,000 or -8%), domestic fowl (-5,100 or -4%), guinea pigs (-2,600 or -8%), rabbits (-2,500 or -13%), and beagles (-1,200 or -17%).
Mice, rats and all other rodents together accounted for the majority of procedures; seventy-seven percent (77%) of the total. Fish and birds were used in, respectively, 17% and 3% of procedures. The largest increases in the use of mice and of fish were for fundamental biological research, applied studies for human medicine or dentistry, and breeding. Dogs, cats, horses and non-human primates, afforded special protection by the Act, were collectively used in less than one percent of all procedures.
Breeding for the production of harmful mutant and genetically modified animals accounted for nearly two fifths (1.4 million or 38%) of the total procedures started in 2008. Ninety-nine percent of procedures carried out using animals listed in Schedule 2 of the Act used animals acquired from designated sources in the United Kingdom.
Of the total 3.7 million procedures, 1.9 million used genetically normal animals, an increase of 160,000 or 9%, which was largely as a result of the increased use of fish and of mice for fundamental biological research and for applied studies. There were 0.43 million procedures using animals with harmful genetic mutations (up 110,000 or 35%, the majority using rodents, fish or amphibians) and 1.3 million procedures using genetically modified animals (up 186,000, or 16%, the vast majority (99%) of these which used mice and fish).
Thirty-five percent of all procedures used some form of anaesthesia to alleviate the severity of the interventions. For many of the remaining procedures the use of anaesthesia would have potentially increased the adverse effects of the procedure.
Non-toxicological procedures accounted for eighty-seven percent of the procedures started in 2008. This contrasts with seventy-five percent of such procedures in 1995. The main areas of use were for immunological studies, pharmaceutical research and development, cancer research, anatomy and physiology.
Procedures for toxicological purposes accounted for thirteen percent of all procedures started in 2008. This contrasts with twenty-five percent of procedures started in 1995. The number of such procedures increased sixteen percent in 2008, after falling in most of the last few years. In 2008 the majority (79%) of procedures were for pharmaceutical safety and efficacy evaluation. Two thirds (66%) of toxicological procedures in 2008 used rodent species; while non-human primates were used in less than one percent of such procedures. Of all the toxicological procedures conducted in 2008, seventy-one percent were performed to conform to legal or regulatory requirements.