Animal Testing Statistics – Exposing Cruelty in the Name of Science!

animal testing in labs

Trigger alert/warning: Graphic images of animals being tested on are linked in this article.

It could be said that animal testing saves lives. It could also be said that animals experience cruel and unusual treatment as they’re being tested. Both of these statements are true, and the question is, which of them do you choose to stand behind? 

The following statistics and photos tell the truth. They’re facts we need to know so we can put our heads on the pillow at night and feel like we’ve made the right decision.

Animal testing happens all over the world. It’s not something Americans created… it goes all the way back to Aristotle in ancient Greece, who practiced biomedical research on animals. 

So, let’s roll up our sleeves and pull back the curtain to learn if abusing animals to save human lives is worth it.

Top 10 Most Disturbing Facts

Exploring the World of Animal Testing

It’s a touchy subject. Animal testing has camps on both sides, and both consist of advocates: Testing advocates and animal advocates. All over the world, animal tests are being conducted as we speak that protect human life by torturing animals. 

animal experiments

The sheer number of animals killed and abused is staggering since even the abuse of one animal should be unacceptable. On the flip side, countless human lives have been saved from this testing. 

Full disclosure: Having been a staunch animal advocate for decades, you would think you know exactly where I stand. The truth is, it’s complicated. I’m on life-saving medication that has been tested on animals. So, am I a hypocrite for wanting animal testing to stop while continuing to take my medication? 

Here’s the answer: I stand with the animals. I would have been horrified if I had known what they go through when I started my medicinal treatment. But I didn’t! Now, I know what I know, and it’s too late to help the animals who suffered for me to be able to live a life worth living. 

Will I continue to take medication? Yes. Will I continue to advocate for animals who go through hell to save human lives? Yes. Call me a hypocrite!

Top Animal Testing Countries Worldwide

Numbers in 2020 – By RSPCA

  • United States 20 million
  • China 16 million
  • Japan 11 million
  • European Union 9.4 million
  • Australia 6.7 million
  • Canada 4.3 million
  • New Zealand 0.24 million
animals in testing labs


Cruelty-Free International says that approximately 80 million animals were used in scientific experimentation, and others were employed for tissue engineering.

Unfortunately, no accurate figures are available to determine precisely how many animals are used in experiments in the U.S. or worldwide. (source)

We have official numbers that have been submitted to the government, but testers don’t count all animals.

General Statistics About Animal Testing

animal labs

It Is Estimated More Than 110 Million Animals Are Killed in the U.S. Annually for Experimentation Purposes. (PETA)

The PETA states, in no uncertain terms, that there are no absolute numbers for animal testing. These are the only statistics that have been reported. 

The industry has been shrouded in mystery since its inception. We’ll never know the true number of animal lives lost and abused from testing.

Percentages

  • 53% of research is on guinea pigs, hamsters, and rabbits. 
  • 10% is on dogs or cats 
  • 9% on non-human primates

Almost 99% of the Animals Used for Scientific Experiments Are Not Included in Federal Animal Protection Laws. (PETA)

The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) was passed in 1966 and protects dogs, cats, monkeys, guinea pigs, rabbits, and some other warm-blooded animals IN SOME WAYS. 

While the AWA regulates the housing and transportation of animals used for research, it does not regulate the experiments themselves. – (source)

The law also does NOT protect birds, rats, mice, amphibians, reptiles, crustaceans, fish, farm animals (including livestock and poultry), and the like. It’s a flimsy attempt to answer the masses of opponents. 

More Than 300,000 Animals Covered by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) Were Subjected to Cruel Experimentation From Years 2015 to 2019 (PETA)

What’s even more heartbreaking is the fact that these animals didn’t receive any pain relief while the experiments were conducted, leaving them to suffer from inflammation, ulcers, bleeding, irritated and cloudy eyes, blindness, redness, swelling, discharge, and hemorrhaging. (source)

56% of US Citizens Believe Animals Used for Scientific Experimentation Are ‘Ethically Acceptable.’ (Gallup)

how many animals die from animal testing

With 56%, more than half of America, agreeing with such egregious practices, animal advocates face a tougher battle in their fight to end animal testing.

Yearly, 75,000 Animals Die in Just a Single Animal Testing Company. (About Animal Testing)

This number serves as a poignant reminder of the significant toll that animal testing takes on sentient beings. Experimenters often want answers “yesterday,” and this causes animals to be susceptible to overdose.

Researchers often use chemical concentrations that are a thousand times higher than someone would experience in typical real-world exposure.

68% of UK Nationals Are Against the Idea of Animal Testing. (AnimalFreeResearchUK)

A survey by YouGov reveals that 60% of Brits are in favor of increased government funding for innovative technologies aimed at replacing animals in medical experiments.

In the UK, researchers must prove a test cannot be done by using any other format (computer model, human volunteer, etc.) and that it must be tested on an animal.

Almost 90% of Novel Drugs Fail at Human Clinical Trials. (National Institutes of Health – NIH)

Despite the implementation of numerous successful strategies, approximately 90% of clinical drug development ends in failure.

When this much medicine doesn’t even pass the trial phase, why are the taxpayers/government wasting billions of dollars on animal testing?

Stats of 560,000 Experiments Show Animals Went Through a Lot of Pain During Experimentations (HSI)

The figure represents not just a number but individual sentient beings subjected to distress, which can range from minor discomfort to severe agony.

Poking, prodding, burning, stabbing, and drowning are just a few of the horrors animals experience when tested on.

It Takes Nearly 10 Years To Commercialize a Single Registered Pesticide. (HSI)

It takes nearly 10 years and a whopping $3 million to get a single pesticide approved by EPA. This lengthy process not only costs money but also the lives of up to 10,000 animals for testing purposes.

In ten years, so many millions of animals are being tested. Is it really worth it?

41% of UK Nationals Think Animal Testing Organizations Are Secretive. (Ipsos)

41% of UK nationals view animal testing organizations as secretive due to a perceived lack of transparency and limited public access to information.

“The [UK] Government is facing a High Court challenge over allegations it “secretly” abandoned a more than two-decade-old ban on testing cosmetic product ingredients on animals.” (source)

Almost 49 Research Tests Are Available That Don’t Include Animal Testing. (OECD)

Today, 29 OECD test guidelines exist, incorporating 49 alternative methods that span a broader range of areas.

We already have options, but not a government willing to stop the tide of cruelty that is animal testing. Areas like human cell-based research, computer models, and human volunteers have all been proven to work.

Additionally, there are many non-animal models, such as organ-on-a-chip technology, that are being developed and used for toxicity testing.

By 2025, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Has Planned To Reduce the Testing of Mammals by 30%. (EPA)

EPA allocated $4.25 million to five universities for research on alternative testing methods, aiming to minimize or replace vertebrate animal testing.

It’s a start. And it’s interesting to know a government agency realizes how unnecessary animal testing is.

Animal Testing Statistics Worldwide

The Humane Society of the US reports that, as of now, 42 countries have full or partial bans on cosmetics animal testing, including all European Union countries, Australia, India, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, and South Korea.

animal experiments

It Is Estimated That Almost 192.1 Million Animals Were Tested in Scientific Laboratories in 2015 (Cruelty-Free International – CFI)

In 2015, a jaw-dropping 192.1 million animals were used for scientific purposes worldwide. Cruelty-Free International rightly includes ALL animals in their estimates.

According to PETA, the vast majority of animals used in laboratory testing are mice, rats, birds, fish, and reptiles, with only a small percentage being cats, dogs, or non-human primates. Many of these animals are subjected to painful and distressing experiments, such as forced feeding, electric shocks, and toxic exposure.

123 Skin Irritation Tests Were Conducted on Rabbits in the UK in 2018. (CFI)

We must be reminded that although it may seem unharmful to shave off a rabbit’s fur and apply an unknown topical substance, the results could burn, sting, and even maim an animal. 

In 2018, 12.3 Million Experiments Were Conducted on Animals in Europe. (CFI)

Although cosmetics testing on animals is banned under EU Cosmetics Regulation, the European Chemicals Agency and the European Commission argue that even ingredients used exclusively in cosmetics may be tested on animals under EU chemicals legislation REACH if there is a possibility of workforce exposure. – (source)

To this day, ignorance is alive and well. “Workforce exposure?” The makeup I wear cannot harm anyone else if it’s not harming me. Why does this even need to be said?

In the UK, Almost 2.9 Million Animals Were Used for Testing in 2020. (CFI)

Although it doesn’t make it right, in comparison to America’s testing number of well over 20 million animals for the same year, it seems like only a few. 

It is important to note that this number has been gradually decreasing over the years, and the UK government has set a target to replace, reduce, and refine the use of animals in research through the implementation of the “3Rs” principle (Replacement, Reduction, Refinement).

Animal Testing Statistics in the US

lab animal experiments

The highest number of (protected) animals for research is in Massachusetts state of the US. (United States Department of Agriculture – USDA)

Each year, the Animal Legal Defense Fund publishes its U.S. State Animal Protection Laws Rankings Report. Each state is ranked based on 20 different categories of animal protection.

Massachusetts is in the #6 spot of the Top Tier in the US. The state has:

  • Felony provisions for cruelty, neglect, fighting, abandonment, and sexual assault
  • Mandatory post-conviction forfeiture
  • Protection orders may include animals
  • California used the highest number of cats for animal testing back in 2020 (Procon)

In January 2020, CA passed the California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act; however, with the above statistic, it seems they’ve taken two steps forward and two steps back.

More Than 70% of the Research Monkeys in the US Were Imported From China (Wiley)

China is the 2nd country that conducts the most animal testing (right behind the US), so the two countries have no grief over these transactions. (source)

animal used for research

Almost 85–95% of the Animals in the USA Are Not Protected by Any Laws (ALDF)

Due to major loopholes in animal cruelty laws, animals don’t get the protection they really deserve. Those without protection are complex beings who think and feel pain, just the same as those who have legal protections. (source)

Approximately 47% of the NIH Budget, Which Accounts for $14.5 Billion, Goes for Animal Experimentation in the US Annually. (ALDF)

With that budget, the US could fund computer, cell, and human experimentation.

52% of Adults in the U.S. are Against Animal Experimentation (PETA)

America seems to be split between proponents and opponents of animal testing. Unless more opponents make sure their voices are heard, the issue is a non-issue to the government.

Frequently Used Animals for Experimentation Globally

facts and statistics about animal testing

In 2020, Mice, Fish, Rats, and Birds Accounted for 91% of Animals Used in Research Experiments Conducted in Europe (European Union)

In 2020, animal experimentation dropped 7.5% compared to 2019, but breeding genetically of altered animals rose by 4.1%. About 91% of experiments used mice, fish, rats, and birds, while cats, dogs, and primates made up just 0.2%.

The US Conducts Almost 53% of Its Scientific Research on Rabbits, Pigs, and Hamsters (Speaking of Research)

Speaking of what is an animal, these creatures are living, breathing beings. Smaller animals are easier to handle and control, thereby making them the “guinea pigs” (which are also one of the top animals tested on).

The statistics also reveal that dogs or cats make up 10% of the research subjects, highlighting their significance in certain areas of scientific inquiry. Furthermore, non-human primates constitute 9% of the research subjects, indicating their involvement in specific studies. (source)

Back in 2020, 54% of the Scientific Experiments Were Conducted on Different Animals in UK Universities (UK Gov)

This is a shocking statistic since the UK has always been more progressive than the US about ending animal testing, AND… 68% of UK nationals are against the idea of animal testing.

NIH Has More Than 7,000 Research Monkeys (Science)

testing on animals

The uptick—to nearly 76,000 nonhuman primates in 2017—appears to reflect growing demand from scientists who believe nonhuman primates are more useful than other animals, such as mice or dogs, for testing drugs and studying diseases that also strike humans. – (source)

Then there’s this from the same source:

…importing monkeys to the United States has become increasingly difficult as almost all commercial air carriers now refuse to fly the animals.

Also, although chimpanzees haven’t been tested on since 2015 due to federal protection, there are still hundreds in laboratories languishing, waiting to be saved.

But there is a bit of good news:

Harvard University closed its national primate research center—one of only eight in the country—in 2015 after a federal investigation into the deaths of four of its animals. That same year, NIH ended its support of all invasive chimpanzee studies, citing a report that found these animals were no longer essential to biomedical research. And in 2016, Congress directed NIH to hold a workshop on the utility and ethics of monkey research.

Advantages of Animal Testing Statistics

lab testing on animals

For Medical Purposes, 43% of the People Consider It Acceptable (Speaking of Research)

Different organizations have their own statistics, but generally, they’re in the same ballpark. This particular stat shows that people see the medical advancements testing on animals has provided and so agree. They believe the ends justify the means.

And they have weighty institutions behind them. Animal studies have undeniably played a crucial role in advancing human health.

Interesting Animal Testing Facts Show That the Lifespan of Mice Is 2–3 Years. (The Jackson Laboratory)

And they will spend their entire lives trapped behind bars while having horrific tests (like being force-fed chemicals) administered to them.

Almost 70% of Nobel Prize Achievers Made Discoveries via Animal Testing. (Medical Advances)

Is this fact supposed to be a reason why we torture animals?

Animal Testing Stats Revealed a Reduction Rate in Polio Disease Occurrence. (WHO)

There’s no denying animal testing has medically advanced our world. But if we have the knowledge and the tools to test with animals, we also have the knowledge and tools to discover alternate solutions. 

Cost of Animal Testing Statistics

animal lab testing

One Registered Pesticide Costs 3,000,000 (3 Million) Dollars To Test. (Humane Society International – HSI)

This money could be used to find alternate solutions.  

Twelve Billion Dollars in Taxpayer Money (47% of NIH’s Research Budget) Is Spent on Animal Testing Yearly. (PETA)

Can you imagine the things that could be paid for, like research equipment, computers, techniques, and the brightest minds… and all without abusing an animal?

Animal Testing Cosmetics Statistics

animal test lab

Statistics Depict If Animals Are Not Killed During Experimentation, They Die at the End of the Research. (Humane Society)

Approximately 500,000 animals are used in cosmetics safety testing throughout the world each year. (Humane Society International)

1996: Animal protection groups band together to form the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics. The coalition manages the Leaping Bunny cruelty-free certification program in the United States and Canada. (HSUS)

1998: The United Kingdom bans animal testing for cosmetic products and ingredients. (HSUS) Note: In January 2023, Parliament is investigating to see if the government has abandoned this policy. 

On Sep. 2, 2021, Mexico became the 41st country and first in North America to ban cosmetics testing on animals, according to the Humane Society International. – ProCon.org

Cosmetics tests on animals are some of the most excruciating experiments for animals to experience. And for what? So we can look good wearing lipstick? 

Accuracy of Animal Testing Statistics

labs that test on animals for medical progress

Only About 8% of the Drugs Tested on Animals Have Been Commercialized. (PETA)

Not only are the animals looked at as being replaceable, but this is also how few drugs reach the market.

95% of the Drugs Which Prove Potency in Animals Have Failed in Humans. (PETA)

A 2014 review published in the British Medical Journal found that “even the most promising findings from animal research often fail in human trials and are rarely adopted into clinical practice.” (source)

100 HIV Vaccines Are Effective in Animals but Have Shown No Results in Humans. (PETA)

This is alarming! We can very well gauge the authenticity and effectiveness of using animals for human medications.

In the First Phase of Clinical Trials, More Than 93% of the Chemotherapeutic Drugs Tested on Animals Previously Were Rejected. (PETA)

Ninety-two percent of all drugs shown to be safe and effective in animal experiments in the United States fail in human trials because the drugs don’t work or are dangerous. (United States Food and Drug Administration)

Animal Testing Alternatives Statistics

what animals are used for testing

Cell-Based Alternatives To Check Crude Skin Allergy Showed Improved Results (From 72–85%) (Cruelty-Free)

For example, MatTek Life Sciences’ EpiDerm™ Tissue Model is 3-dimensional and derived from human cells. Rabbits would no longer be used to test chemicals.

Employing Reconstituted Human Skin Improved the Accuracy of Evaluating Skin Irritation by 86%. (CrueltyFree)

Using human skin is much more reliable than an animal’s and could provide more accurate results.

Stem Cells Have a Higher Sensitivity of 93% To Detect Problematic Substances in the Fetus. (Cruelty-Free)

This type of research could replace the current procedure of purposefully impregnating animals only to eventually kill the fetus/baby.

More Than $420 Million Has Been Spent To Find Alternatives to Animal Testing. (ChemicalWatch)

Compared to the billions spent testing on animals, this cost is minimal.

Testing on humans isn’t a pipe dream that couldn’t possibly happen due to ethical and humane reasons. Cosmetics testing could be administered to human volunteers.

Computer Models Can Conduct “Virtual Experiments Based on Existing Information and Mathematical Data” (Cruelty-Free International via Green Matters)

unreliable animal tests

Animals are used in research to improve the health and welfare of humans and animals and to gain basic knowledge that cannot be gained in other ways. – National Library of Medicine 

“…that cannot be gained in other ways.” This is just untrue. As we’ve just discussed, there ARE other ways to “gain basic knowledge” other than from animal trials and testing.

FAQ’s

1. What Is Animal Testing?

Animal testing involves doing scientific tests on animals when developing new products or drugs.

2. What Is the Rate of Animal Survival in Animal Testing?

First, we must take into account that an animal might live through testing but have mutations, illnesses, injuries, and low quality of life. The rate of animal survival in animal testing is… there are no statistics on how many animals are killed or die from animal testing.

However, we know most are killed since there’s no influx of laboratory animals arriving at animal shelters or sanctuaries. Additionally, they’re killed so technicians can study their organs (which include the brain), tissues, and cells.    

3. What Is the Success Rate of Animal Testing?

“The unreliability of animal experimentation across a wide range of areas undermines scientific arguments in favor of the practice.” – National Library of Medicine

Just because there are people who think animal testing is successful doesn’t justify the ways and means of administering it.

4. What Is the Animal Testing Death Rate?

One animal dies in a laboratory in the United States every second, in Japan every two seconds, and in the United Kingdom every 12 seconds. (British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection)

Statistics depict that if animals are not killed during experimentation, they die at the end of the research.

There are currently no reliable statistics on the death rate of animals used for animal testing. The number is too high.

5. What Is the Importance of Animal Testing?

Animal testing has: 

  1. Improved human health 
  2. Saved human lives 
  3. Contributed to people getting better nutrition 
  4. Approved the release of and prevented certain medications from being available to the public 
  5. Helped people who needed organ transplants  
  6. Prevented human disease and illnesses.

And more.

But is the tradeoff worth it? Is it ethical? Is it moral? Is it right? When does our conscience show up and say, “No more.”

6. What Type of Testing Is Performed on Animals?

  • DOGS – Dogs have their organs deliberately harmed or removed to test how organ function in humans will react to certain substances.
  • CATS – “They have their spinal cords damaged and are forced to run on treadmills to study how nerve activity might affect human limb movement.” (HSUS)
  • MONKEYS – Monkeys are removed from their mothers at birth to study how extreme stress will affect humans.
  • MICE – Mice are force-fed chemicals daily to see how it affects them and if it would be damaging to humans.
  • FERRETS – Ferrets are infected with potentially fatal human diseases (COVID-19, Ebola, etc.) with no anesthesia or treatment to see how humans would be affected by the same illness/disease.
  • PIGS – Pigs have devices implanted like pacemakers to see the effects.
  • RABBITS – Rabbits that are pregnant are force-fed toxic pesticides daily to study how human mothers and babies could be affected.
  • SHEEP – Sheep are forced to experience extremely high pressures, like deep water, to watch their response.
  • RATS – Rats are stuck in small tubes and forced to inhale cigarette smoke to see the effects of cigarette smoke.
  • BABOONS – Baboons are injected with endometrial tissue to induce endometriosis, which is extremely painful, in order to witness the possible effects on humans.
  • HORSES – Horses are infected with potentially fatal viruses, like hepatitis, to study reactions in order to obtain data.

All of the above information was published by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

This was difficult to even write. Can you imagine the horrors these animals experience daily? We know all this information due to the courageous people who have infiltrated laboratories, taken pictures, and researched the tests being given. The examples given are only a small fraction of the testing they put animals through.

The painful experiments administered last days, months, or years and largely end in death either from what has been given to animal species or if there’s no more use for them.    

7. Where Do Laboratories Get the Animals They Use in Experiments?

Most of the animals are purpose-bred or bred only for the reason of being used in experiments. Also… 

  1. Birds, monkeys, and other wildlife are taken from the wild.
  2. Animals are taken from animal shelters.
  3. Trapping stray animals.
  4. From Class B dealers who get animals from auctions, newspaper ads, online sales, and other sources. (Although Congress passed legislation in 2015 to stop Class B dealers from operating, the practice is still thriving.)

8. Why Is Animal Testing Cruel?

Oxford defines “cruel” as willfully causing pain or suffering to others or feeling no concern about it. The example provided is “people that are cruel to animals.” Additionally, I believe we’ve covered the cruelty of animal testing.

In Conclusion

The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Animal Care inspectors are supposed to conduct unannounced inspections, but there are far too few inspectors vs. the number of facilities that need an inspection. Bottom line? They’re underfunded and understaffed.

Due to the tireless efforts of organizations like PETA, facts have been made available to the public that would have never been known. There shouldn’t be a debate as to IF animals are traumatized by testing. We know they are. 

You just need to decide if you would speak out against it by contacting animal rights organizations to ask what you can do to make a stand. Or write your Congress person. Or post on social media. Or do nothing and stay silent. 

I’m grateful for their efforts… I’m willing to continue buying only products with the bunny on them… I’m for the animals. Are you?

Jen Flatt Osborn
Born with a pen in her hand and a deadline (and probably a tail), Jen considers writing a vocation, an art, and a release. She’s a freelance copy/content writer who specializes in the pet industry. Previously, she was the founder/director of an animal sanctuary for 12 years, taught classes to middle school students about dog behavior, and has lived a life full of devotion to animals and their welfare. As a vegetarian, Jen advocates for the humane treatment of every living creature. She currently lives with one delightful canine who encourages her to put her head out the car window more often.

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