UK Statistics

Animals used in experiments in the UK in 2012

Number of Animal Procedures in the UK

Every year the Home Office releases the statistics on animal research for the preceding year.In 2012, the total number of animals used in research was 4.03 million, this fell slightly to 4.02 million in 2013*. The total number of procedures was slightly higher, at 4.12 million, as some animals were used for more than one procedure. In 1987 the UK changed the way in which it counted animals, from the total number of animals to the total number of procedures.The statistics for Northern Ireland are not included and are published separately here (19,860 procedures in 2013).

*The total number of animals excludes those animals first used in a previous year, which underwent a procedure in the current year, in order to prevent double counting of animals between years.

Most of the rises in recent years are a result of rising number of Genetically Altered animals (mainly GA mice) being bred; this accounts for 44% of all procedures (in 2012).

Numbers of genetically modified animals used in research

These small rises are also set against large rises in R&D spending in the sector as a whole.

Since 1995 spending on research more than doubled whereas the number of procedures has risen by only about 30%.

animal testing in the uk in 2013

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As we can see, mice, rats, birds and fish account for over 98% of all research animals in the United Kingdom (and 97% of procedures). Dogs and cats account for 0.09% and primates account for around 0.05%. Invertebrates such as fruit flies and nematode worms are widely used by researchers but are not covered by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act and are thus not included.

When we look at the other uses of animals in the UK we see that those killed for medical research (and the huge benefits that go with it) are far outweighed by the numbers of fish and chickens eaten, and even by the number of birds and other wildlife killed by domestic cats.

Finally, it is worth remembering the huge benefits brought about by animal research. Here are some (approximate) annual figures of treatment used that were developed through animal research.

Home Office 2013 reports: