August 19th 2021
The statistics for animal research conducted in Canada in 2019 have been released by the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC). These numbers reflect research conducted by CCAC-certified institutions and by people working at CCAC-certified institutions, even if the research involves animals located outside of Canada. The criteria for CCAC certification can be found here. This also means that not all animals used for research in Canada are included in these reports. The CCAC reports that in 2019, 4,562,522 animals were used for research, teaching, and testing in Canada. This is an increase of 19% from the 3,832,817 animals that were used in 2018.
80.5% of the animals used in research and testing were conducted on mice, rats, fish, and birds, which was slightly lower than in other countries. However, with the inclusion of cattle, this percentage rises to 94.4%. Similarly to other countries, primates, cats and dogs comprised a small proportion of animals used for research, together accounting for 0.5% of all research animals, with an overall decrease of 5,993 animals from 2018 for these species.
Pain, suffering, and harm were also measured and classified under four categories of invasiveness: none, mild, moderate, and severe. For further details on what these categories mean, please see here. In 2019, 45% of experiments were classified as “none”, 25.5% were considered “mild”, 26.3% were “moderate”, and 3.2% were “severe”.
Overall, there seems to be an upward trend in the number of animals used in research in Canada over the last 20 years, although this pattern is not particularly clear due to annual fluctuations. These fluctuations may be a consequence of the accounting procedures used, and may only reflect animals used in CCAC-certified institutions.