52 Disturbing Animal Testing Statistics: Lab-Testing on Dogs, Cats, and Other Animals

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Meg Marrs

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animal testing statistics

Animal testing is a controversial practice.

While some argue it’s essential for developing life-saving drugs and treatments for humanity, others argue it’s un-necessary and cruel when better alternatives testing exist that don’t cause harm to animals.

Let’s dive into some animal lab testing statistics to better understand the scope of the debate.

More than 115 million animals worldwide are used in laboratory experiments every year.

Source: The Humane Society International

This number includes mice, frogs, rabbits, monkeys, fish, birds, and dogs. Unfortunately, since only a small number of countries collect and publish data related to animal testing and research, the real number is unknown and likely much larger.

In the United States, for instance, an alarming 90% of animals used in laboratories—specifically, purpose-bred rats, mice, birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and invertebrates—are exempted from official statistics. This omission means that the figures released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture likely substantially undervalue the true extent of animal usage in laboratories.

In the European Union, the number of animals involved in testing and research exceeds 12 million per year. France, Germany, and the United Kingdom are the leading countries in terms of animal use for such purposes. In the UK alone, more than 3 million animals are used annually.

However, this figure does not account for animals that are bred for research purposes but are eliminated as “surplus” before they are used in specific experimental procedures.

These animals, despite not being part of direct testing, still suffer from the sterile and stressful conditions of the laboratory environment, yet their existence goes unrecorded in official statistics.

More than 250 institutions in the US report using dogs in experiments, including pesticide, chemical, and drug companies.

Source: The Humane Society of the United States

Over 250 institutions in the U.S. report using dogs in research experiments each year. This includes pesticide, chemical, and drug companies, as well as public and private universities, community and technical schools, and government-owned facilities, along with hospitals too.

52% of U.S. adults oppose the use of animals in scientific research

Source: Pew Research Center

An increasing number of Americans are opposed to using animals in scientific research. Other surveys suggest that, within the shrinking group that does accept animal experimentation, only endorses it because they believe it to be necessary for medical progress.  

The majority of animal experiments do not contribute to improving human health.

Source: PETA

The contribution of animal testing to advancements in human health is often overestimated, and the actual value of these experiments in facilitating significant medical breakthroughs is debatable.

Laboratory-induced diseases in animals, whether in mice or primates, are never an exact replica of those naturally occurring in humans. Given the substantial biological variations across different animal species, the likelihood of animal experiments producing results that can be accurately interpreted and applicable to human health in a substantial manner is greatly reduced.

This disconnect is well illustrated in the realm of HIV/AIDS research. Despite the successful development of at least 85 HIV/AIDS vaccines in nonhuman primate studies as of 2015, not a single one has demonstrated protective efficacy in human trials.

This discrepancy underscores the limitations and potential pitfalls of over-reliance on animal models for understanding and combating human diseases.

Approximately 47% of NIH-funded research involves experimentation on animals.

Source: Pankevich, 2012

An estimated 47% of NIH-funded research involves experiments on animals and in 2020 the NIH budget nearly $42 billion for research and development. 

This means that $19.6 billion was spent on animal experiments, all with little benefit to human health.

If more of these NIH funds were directed towards research alternatives to animal experimentation, one might conceivably imagine we can rechl harm-free testing earlier.

Many charities––including the March of Dimes and the American Cancer Society —use donations to fund experiments on animals. 

Source: Pankevich, 2012

It’s even estimated that one-third of the projects funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society involve experiments on animals.

Women are generally more opposed to animal experimentation than men.

Source: ResearchGate

Several studies have examined the differences between  men and women towards animal experimentation. One study found that women were significantly more opposed to animal experimentation than men in 14 of 15 studied countries. 

Men were significantly more supportive of animal research than women in 84% of the studies which examined gender differences. There was no study in which women had more favorable attitudes towards animal research than men.

Animal Testing on Dogs

Dogs may have their hearts, lungs or kidneys deliberately damaged or removed to study the effects of experimental substances. 

Source: The Humane Society of the United States

In the world of biomedical research, dogs often serve as subjects for the study of human organ function. Researchers intentionally inflict damage on or remove these animals’ hearts, lungs, or kidneys to investigate the potential impact of experimental substances on similar human organs.

These practices, while viewed as necessary by some, are a contentious aspect of animal testing due to the suffering inflicted upon the animals. Especially dogs, who serve so often as companion animals to humans.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires new pesticides to be fed to dogs for 90 days as part of its approval process.

Source: The Humane Society of the United States

In the environmental sphere, the use of dogs in testing procedures is mandated by regulatory bodies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States.

In its approval process for new pesticides, the EPA requires these substances to be administered orally to dogs for a period of 90 days. The objective of these tests is to identify any potential health risks before the pesticides are approved for public use.

However, such testing protocols have been the subject of widespread criticism. Critics argue that these tests not only inflict harm on the animals but also may not provide reliable or directly applicable results to humans

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will not approve potential drugs unless they are first tested on animals, which usually includes dogs.

Source: The Humane Society of the United States

The FDA regulates various products including drugs, medical devices, food, fragrances and color additives. Sadly, the FDA required animal testing for all FDA-approved products — often involving dogs.

Massachusetts uses dogs in experiments the most, with 9,414 dogs used in 2021.

Source: The Humane Society of the United States

The vast majority of these 9k dogs are used in Charles River Laboratories in MA. The next state that used the most dogs in experiments was Pennsylvania with 2,799 and New Jersey with 2,668.

Statistics About Cosmetic Testing on Animals

500,000 animals suffer and die worldwide every year in cosmetics tests.

Source: The Humane Society of the United States

While some people may argue that animal testing is vital to medical advancements and safety testing (which is debatable), many would agree that painful, excruciating testing on animals for non-essential, non life-saving items like cosmetics is reprehensible.

Look for the Leaping Bunny logo to avoid cosmetics tested on animals.

Leaping Bunny-certified brands can be found in most grocery, pharmacy, department and beauty stores. You can look for the Leaping Bunny logo, as many Leaping Bunny-certified brands display the logo on their products. There’s a free Leaping Bunny app you can download to your phone as well.

42 countries have full or partial bans on cosmetics animal testing, including the European Union, Australia, India, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway and South Korea.

Source: The Humane Society of the United States

In a landmark move in 2013, the European Union enforced a ban on animal testing for cosmetics and on the sale of such tested products. This decision triggered a global shift towards seeking non-animal alternatives for standard cosmetics tests.

A host of other countries, including India, Israel, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Mexico, have followed suit with similar legislation.

The implication of these laws is far-reaching. Cosmetics manufacturers, both within the United States and internationally, who rely on animal testing, are barred from selling their products in these regions unless they adapt their testing methodologies.

Other nations worldwide, including Australia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, and a number of states within Brazil, have also instituted laws aiming to eliminate or at least restrict animal testing for cosmetics. The global shift away from such testing practices signals a growing awareness and commitment towards more ethical methods in cosmetics research and production.

Until recently, cosmetic testing on animals was mandatory in China.

Source: The Humane Society of the United States

Until 2014, the Chinese government required all beauty products to undergo some kind of animal testing. Thankfully, China has been gradually relaxing its regulations on animal testing.

As early as 2014, the Chinese government altered its stance, permitting manufacturers of “ordinary” cosmetic items, such as shampoos and mascaras, to forego animal testing protocols if they were producing within the country.

Significant strides were made in 2021 when further amendments were introduced, allowing certain companies to bypass animal testing when importing ordinary cosmetics into China (animal testing on imported products was previously mandatory), marking a significant turning point in the nation’s approach towards animal welfare.

Over 390 companies have endorsed the Humane Cosmetics Act, a bill that would end animal testing for cosmetics in the United States.

Source: The Humane Society of the United States

As of 2023, several prominent companies have endorsed the Humane Cosmetics Act. These include:

  1. The Body Shop: An international beauty and skincare brand known for its ethical stance and long-standing commitment to ending animal testing.
  2. Lush Cosmetics: A brand renowned for its handmade cosmetics, Lush has always been at the forefront of advocating for cruelty-free practices in the industry.
  3. Cruelty Free International: Although not a company per se, this organization’s Leaping Bunny Program is globally recognized as a guarantee for cosmetics and household products not tested on animals.
  4. Paul Mitchell Systems: One of the first hair care companies to publicly oppose animal testing, it continues to endorse and support the act.
  5. E.l.f. Cosmetics: Known for their affordable, high-quality, and 100% vegan products, e.l.f. Cosmetics is an advocate of the Humane Cosmetics Act.
  6. Urban Decay: This cosmetic brand, popular for its ethical production processes, supports the initiative towards a cruelty-free industry.

Animal testing used in the cosmetic industry includes skin irritation, toxicity tests via force feeding, and “lethal dogs” testing.

Source: The Humane Society of the United States

Despite no legal requirement, various invasive procedures are carried out on animals such as rabbits, mice, guinea pigs, and rats as part of cosmetic testing on animals. These include:

  • Tests for skin and eye irritation: In these tests, chemical substances are applied onto the shaved skin or directly into the eyes of immobilized rabbits. These procedures are carried out without any provision for pain relief.
  • Toxicity tests via force-feeding: Mice are subjected to repeated force-feeding of chemical substances over extended periods, ranging from weeks to months. These tests are designed to observe signs of general sickness or specific health risks such as carcinogenic properties or potential for causing birth defects.
  • The controversial “lethal dose” tests: Rats are compelled to ingest large volumes of test chemicals to establish the dosage that results in fatality.

Following these tests, the animals are typically euthanized through means such as asphyxiation, neck-breaking, or decapitation, with no provision for pain mitigation.

In the context of the United States, a significant proportion of the animals used in such testing (including lab-bred rats and mice) are exempt from inclusion in official statistics. These animals also do not receive protections under the Animal Welfare Act, underscoring the pressing need for ethical reform in cosmetics testing practices.

The Failure of the Animal Welfare Act

In the U.S., the species most commonly used in experiments are specifically exempted from even minimal protection under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture

While the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) is designed to impose a minimal standard of care for all animals across a variety of fields, including medical research, mice, rats, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians are exempt. These animal species make up 99% of all animals in laboratories!

There are only 120 USDA inspectors to regulate over 11,000 facilities.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Despite more than 11,000 facilities under the regulation of the USDA, (with over 1,200 are designated for research), only 120 USDA inspectors are employed to oversee operations and enforce the AWA. 

This is not surprising, as our research into puppy mill statistics show a similar pattern regarding the lack of enforcement of the AWA, remaining largely toothless and letting the puppy mill industry go largely unregulated.

The USDA reduced penalties to AWA violators by an average of 86%.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture

In 2012, the USDA reduced the penalties that AWA violators were subjected to by an average of 86%. This even includes cases involving animal deaths and horrific violations.

While there are penalties for laboratories when animals are hurt or killed due to negligence, or when animals don’t receive minimum standards of care, these fines are often either extremely small or waived completly.

Over 98% of the IACUC is made up of animal experiments.

Source: PETA

The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is a self-regulating entity that, according to U.S. federal law, must be established by institutions that use laboratory animals for research or instructional purposes. 

Their purpose is to oversee and evaluate all aspects of the institution’s animal care and use program.

However, with 98% of leadership positions of the IACUCs made up of animal experimenters, there tends to be heavy bias in favor of approving animal experiments, reducing the effectiveness of any oversight in regards to animal welfare.

Over 280 chimpanzees are still behind held in labs, despite invasive experiments on chimpanzees ending in 2015 in the US.

Source: The Humane Society of the United States

In spite of the cessation of invasive experiments on chimpanzees in the United States in 2015, over 280 chimpanzees formerly used in laboratory settings have yet to be relocated to sanctuaries.

These sanctuaries offer a much-needed refuge where these primates can recover and live out their lives in an environment far removed from the clinical confines of a laboratory. However, the lingering presence of these chimpanzees in labs highlights a critical gap in the transition from policy changes to actual implementation.

Animal Pain & Suffering Through Experimentation

Under laboratory experiments, animals can be burned, shocked, poisoned, starved, addicted to drugs, and brain-damaged.

 Source: PETA

Under laboratory experiments, it is distressingly true that animals can be subjected to a range of harmful procedures and conditions. These include but are not limited to burns, electric shocks, toxic substance exposure, starvation, drug addiction studies, and induced brain damage. These practices are carried out with the intention of studying various aspects of physiology, disease processes, and potential treatments, with no procedures or experiments, regardless of how trivial or painful they may be, prohibited by federal law.

The use of such procedures raises significant ethical concerns regarding the welfare and suffering of animals involved in laboratory experiments. Critics argue that subjecting animals to these harmful conditions is morally unjustifiable — especially taking into account the unreliability of extrapolating results obtained from animal models to human beings.

Over 300,000 animals were subjected to painful experiments without any pain relief between 2015-2019. 

Source: PETA

At the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a series of experiments were conducted on small marmoset monkeys and guinea pigs. The marmosets were given a chemical to stimulate an immune response, resulting in limb weakness and impaired movement — sometimes even to the point of paralysis.

In other tests, guinea pigs were infected with filoviruses, leading to severe hemorrhagic fever that manifested as seizures, tremors, paralysis, lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Current laws permit such experimentation on animals, provided that the researchers complete and submit the appropriate paperwork.

59,401 laboratory dogs were reported to APHIS in 2018. Most were involved in studies without pain. 

Source: Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service

In 2018, there were 59,401 laboratory dogs reported to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Out of these, 41,317 were involved in studies that didn’t involve pain, 17,752 were subjected to pain but received pain relievers, and 332 were involved in studies that included pain but without any pain relievers.

The statistic suggests that a significant majority of laboratory dogs, approximately 70%, were involved in studies without pain, which might indicate a preference for non-painful experimental procedures – at least when it comes to man’s best friend. 

However, there’s still a substantial number, nearly 30%, that experienced pain, but thankfully the majority of those received pain relievers. A small fraction of dogs, less than 1%, were subjected to painful studies without any form of pain relief, raising ethical concerns about animal welfare in research.

Mice and rats used in painful surgeries were only given post-operative pain relief 20% of the time.

Source: PETA

A survey conducted in 2009 revealed that post-operative pain relief was administered to mice and rats only about 20% of the time following invasive and painful surgeries.

Many of these animals underwent procedures such as skull surgeries, burn experiments, and spinal surgeries without receiving any post-procedure pain relief – even Advil.

Over 30% of animal experiments involve moderate-to-severe suffering.

Source: Spots

This statistic sheds light on the distressing reality that a significant proportion of animal experiments entail substantial levels of suffering for the subjects involved. The term “moderate-to-severe suffering” encompasses a range of adverse experiences, including pain, distress, and discomfort endured by animals during the course of scientific investigations.

Such findings raise ethical concerns regarding the welfare of these animals, emphasizing the need for robust evaluation and implementation of alternative methods that minimize or eliminate animal suffering in research practices.

One Ohio State University study forced dogs to run on a treadmill until they collapsed from a heart attack.

Source: PETA

The Ohio State University study, run by vivisector George Billman forced dogs to run on a treadmill until they suffered a heart attack, upon which they were dissected to examine their heart issue.Source: PETA

In another experiment at the University of Pennsylvania, puppies were bred to have a degenerative eye disease that ultimately resulted in blindness. During the study, 3-week-old beagles were killed and had their eyes removed for examination.

When valid non-animal research methods are available, no federal law requires experimenters to use such methods instead of animals.

Source: PETA

It is somewhat disturbing to note that even when non-animal research methods are available and appropriate, there is no law that requires experimenters to use those harm-free methods over animal experimentation.

It might be preferable to create some kind of mandate that requires non-animal research methods when compatible, or even offer incentives for researchers to use non-animal testing.

One study had monkeys taken from their mothers as infants to study how extreme stress might affect human behavior.

Source: The Humane Society of the United States

One research study subjected infant monkeys to a controversial experimental procedure to investigate the potential implications of extreme stress on human behavior. In this case, young monkeys were forcibly separated from their mothers—a process known to induce high levels of stress and anxiety in these animals.

While the aim of the study was to shed light on the psychological impact of stress, the ethical ramifications of such research have raised significant concerns. The practice of inducing stress and trauma in young animals for the purposes of scientific research has been widely criticized due to ethical concerns.

Some animals are used in multiple experiments over many years.

Source: The Humane Society of the United States

While lab-tested animals are typically killed once the experiment is over so that their tissues and organs can be examined, it’s not unusual for animals to be kept and used in multiple experiments over several years.

Oklahoma required shelter dogs and cats to be given to laboratories rather than euthanizing them.

Source: The Humane Society of the United States

While obtaining laboratory testing animals from shelters (known as a “pound seizure”) has largely gone out of practice, Oklahoma still requires shelters to give cats and dogs to laboratories, rather than euthanizing them painlessly and ethically. Pound seizure laws vary by state, with some allowing or prohibiting laboratories from taking shelter animals, and other states featuring no laws at all, leaving it up to individual shelters or locality.

Which Animals Are Used in Experiments?

Roughly 60,000 dogs are used in U.S. laboratories every year.

Source: The Humane Society of the United States

This horrifying stat will likely shock any dog owner. On average, over 60,000 dogs are used in experiments each year in the United States.

In 2021, laboratories reported having roughly 43,000 dogs in their possession, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The vast majority of these dogs were used in experiments, while approximately 3,000 were used for breeding or were held but not used in experiments in 2021.

Dogs are employed in a range of research areas, including biomedical studies, toxicology, and veterinary research.

As public awareness and concern for animal welfare continue to grow, there is an ongoing call for the implementation of alternative approaches that minimize or eliminate the use of dogs and other animals in laboratory settings.

The number of dogs used in experiments has dropped from 200,000 in 1979 to 60,000 in 2018.

Source: Speaking of Research

While any dog-lover would likely balk at any number dogs being used in experiments, it is good to see the number go down considerably. The significant decrease in the number of dogs used in experiments from 1979 to 2018 is indicative of several broader trends and shifts in scientific research, ethics, and public sentiment. 

This decline suggests an evolution in scientific methodology, favoring other models such as genetically modified mice or alternative testing methods. Ethically, the decrease in the use of dogs reflects growing awareness and consideration of animal welfare in scientific research. 

Dogs, being common companion animals, often elicit strong empathetic reactions, and their use in potentially harmful or distressing research can lead to significant public disapproval. Over the years, animal rights movements and increased public awareness about the conditions of animals in laboratories have put pressure on regulatory bodies and institutions to minimize the use of animals, particularly dogs, in experiments.

This trend also underscores the impact of public sentiment and societal values on scientific practice. As public discomfort with the use of dogs in research has grown, institutions may feel compelled to reduce their reliance on dogs in experiments due to societal pressure. 

Of all dogs used in research, beagles are the breed most often used in research.

Source: National Anti-Vivisection Society

Beagles have emerged as the predominant breed utilized in scientific research, primarily due to their advantageous characteristics, including their compact size, amiable temperament, and robust constitution.

Additionally, the extensive history of employing Beagles in laboratory settings has resulted in a substantial body of literature and knowledge pertaining to their use, consequently facilitating additional research that seeks to leverage this existing expertise.

Beagles aren’t the only dog breeds used for science though. Rigorous scrutiny of data acquired through Freedom of Information Act requests submitted by NAVS reveals that numerous other breeds are commonly subjected to experimentation, including (but not limited to) Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Greyhounds, Pit Bulls, and Schnauzers. 

Most dogs sold for research are less than a year old.

Source: National Anti-Vivisection Society

Younger dogs are often preferred in research as they are typically healthier and have had less exposure to environmental factors that could influence study outcomes. Puppies are also smaller and easier to manage within the confines of a laboratory.

It’s estimated that over 192 million animals were used for scientific purposes worldwide in 2015.

Source: Cruelty Free International

In 2015, it is estimated that over 192 million animals were used worldwide for scientific purposes. This covers roughly 79.9 million animals used in experimental procedures, as well as millions of additional animals that were killed for their tissues, used in the creation of genetically modified animal strains, or bred for lab experimentation but ultimately not used and culled due to surplus.

An estimated 207,724 tests using dogs and 158,780 tests using monkeys were conducted worldwide in 2015.

Source: Cruelty Free International

While US use of dogs in scientific experiments has declined rapidly over the past 50 years, the use of dogs in laboratory work is still very common in other parts of the world.

These numbers raise profound ethical concerns, given the emotional capacity of dogs and monkeys, the potential distress caused by experiments, and their status as companion and sentient beings respectively.

Animal lovers will agree that there is a need for more universally applied and enforced animal welfare standards in research. 

Nearly 95% of all lab animals in medical research are rats and mice bred specifically for the research.

Source: Foundation for Biomedical Research

While some animal testing involves non-human primates, dogs, cats and pigs, due to their being the best models of certain diseases, less than one half of one percent of animal research uses these animals.

The breeding and use of these animals in controlled laboratory settings allow researchers to conduct experiments with a standardized genetic background, facilitating consistent and reproducible results.

However, it is crucial to recognize the ethical considerations associated with the use of animals in research, even if they are bred specifically for scientific purposes. As awareness grows regarding animal welfare concerns, efforts are being made to promote the refinement, reduction, and replacement of animal models in research.

Mice share more than 98% of their DNA with humans.

Source: Stanford University

Mice share 98% of their DNA with humans, and chimpanzees share 99%. It’s understandable why this makes them easy candidates for laboratory experiments prior to human testing. 

Mice have contributed to advancements in the treatment of breast cancer, and zebrafish have been used successfully to better study hemophilia. That being said, the majority of animal experiments do not lead to significant scientific breakthroughs that benefit humans.

The Inefficacy of Experimentation on Animals

Over 93% of experimental cancer drugs failed in the first phase of human clinical trials – even after testing successfully with animals.

Source: PETA

In a study covering nearly 4,500 experimental cancer drugs developed between 2003 and 2011, it was found that over 93% of these drugs – despite being successful in animal testing –  failed in the first phase of human clinical trials.

Despite the high rates of success observed in animal testing, the overwhelming majority of these promising results fail to translate to human trials. This discrepancy underscores the fundamental biological differences between humans and animals, even those frequently used as model organisms, like mice.

While these animals share certain genetic similarities with humans, their physiological responses to drugs can differ substantially. Moreover, the artificial induction of diseases, which is often unlike the naturally occurring disease in humans, may not accurately reflect the drug’s efficacy or side effects in a real-world context.

This gap in translational efficacy suggests that the current approach to cancer drug development may be fundamentally flawed, necessitating a critical reevaluation of the methodology.

Continued failure of drugs at the human trial stage, after considerable financial and ethical costs have been expended in preclinical animal studies, indicates a costly inefficiency in the pipeline. We should consider how this may justify more aggressive research into alternative methods for drug testing, such as organ-on-a-chip technology or in silico computational models, which may provide more relevant, efficient, and ethical testing strategies.

The chemicals that cause cancer in rats only cause it in mice 46% of the time.

Source: PETA

The observed inconsistency between rats and mice in response to carcinogenic chemicals illuminates a significant concern regarding interspecies variation in biomedical research. With a transfer rate of only 46%, this suggests that nearly half of findings related to carcinogens in rats may not be directly applicable to mice, let alone humans.

This variation is likely due to differences in genetics, metabolism, and immunity across species. The significant variation in response to the same chemicals in different species could mean that a potential drug might pass animal testing phases but fail in humans.

This inefficiency not only leads to wasted resources and potential delays in discovering effective treatments but also highlights the ethical dilemma posed by the potential harm inflicted on test animals without significant corresponding benefits to human health.

Over 98% of drugs tested on animals are never sold in stores.

Source: Spots

This staggering statistic highlights a critical disparity between the outcomes of animal testing and the eventual availability of pharmaceutical products on the market. The overwhelming majority of drugs that successfully pass preclinical animal testing fail to translate into viable products for consumer use.

This underscores the necessity for more effective research methods that better emulate human physiology and better predict drug efficacy and safety, without causing needless pain and suffering to animals.

It takes 12,000 animals and fifty different experiments to pass just one single pesticide.

Source: World Animal Foundation

This eye-opening statistic reveals the extensive scale of animal usage required to assess the safety and effectiveness of a single pesticide. The tremendous number of animals involved, coupled with the significant number of experiments conducted, underscores the immense reliance on animal testing in regulatory processes for pesticide approval, as well as the  necessity of refining alternative testing strategies.

What Countries and Regions Use Animal Experimentation the Most?

China is estimated to be the country that does the most animal testing in the world.

Source: Cruelty Free International

The top 10 animal testing countries in the world are believed to be China (20.5 million) Japan (15.0 million), the United States (15.6 million),  Canada (3.6 million), Australia (3.2 million), South Korea (3.1 million), the United Kingdom (2.6 million), Brazil (2.2 million), Germany (2.0 million) and France (1.9 million).

It’s estimated that over 75% of the world’s cosmetic testing on animals is now being performed in China.

Source: International Association Against Painful Experiments on Animals

According to the International Association Against Painful Experiments on Animals (IAAPEA), over 75% of the world’s cosmetic testing on animals is currently conducted in China.

Many regions, including the European Union, have implemented full or partial bans on animal testing for cosmetics, which could be contributing to the high percentage of testing occurring in China.

This significant proportion of global animal testing taking place in China may reflect the country’s large and rapidly growing cosmetics market, as well as fundamental differences regarding the ethics of animal testing and animal welfare.

10 states have banned animal testing for cosmetics: California, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia.

Source: The Humane Society of the United States

Out of all US states, ten have put a ban on animal testing for cosmetic purposes. Those states are California, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Virginia. California was the first, passing the Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act, which prohibits the sale of animal-tested cosmetics and was signed into law in September 2018. New York was the most recent in December of 2022.

The ban on animal testing for cosmetics in certain states represents a significant milestone in the intersection of legislative action, animal welfare, and consumer choice. This regulatory move signifies a growing recognition of animal welfare concerns within the cosmetic industry and reflects a shift in societal values toward reducing unnecessary animal harm.

Such legislation could have multiple ripple effects. It may stimulate innovation in the cosmetic industry while encouraging the development of alternative testing methods that don’t rely on animal models, such as in vitro techniques or computer simulation. 

These state-level bans may (as a long-term goal) pave the way for more comprehensive federal legislation, fostering a nationwide shift towards cruelty-free cosmetic testing. 

Michigan offers the most legal protection to research animals with 23 regulations.

Source: Spots

Michigan offers the most legal protection to animals used in research out of all other US states, with 23 distinct regulations in place. 

Michigan’s leading role in providing legal protection to research animals, with 23 regulations, signifies a strong commitment to animal welfare in scientific experimentation. These rules likely govern areas like housing standards, pain minimization, veterinary oversight, and the exploration of alternatives to animal use, promoting not just ethical treatment, but also enhancing the quality of research.

While these robust regulations set a commendable example, they emphasize the importance of both rigorous legislation and effective enforcement nation-wide to ensure the humane treatment of animals in all research environments.

15 states have laws requiring laboratories to offer dogs and cats to shelters so they can be adopted after experiments have ended.

Source: The Humane Society of the United States

As of 2022, 15 states have laws that require laboratories, when possible, to offer dogs and cats to shelters or other rescue groups so that the animals can be adopted into homes after the experiments they were used in have concluded. However, it’s overall extremely rare for this to happen for lab-tested animals.

Alternatives to Animal Testing

Procter & Gamble has invested over $420 million in developing non-animal testing methods.

Source: Procter & Gamble

Procter & Gamble, a multinational consumer goods corporation, has expressed commitment towards ending animal testing by investing over $420 million in developing non-animal testing methods. 

This substantial investment reflects a strategic shift in the company’s approach to product safety testing, aligning with a global trend towards cruelty-free practices and supporting research in areas like in vitro (test-tube) testing, computational modelling, and advanced techniques like organ-on-a-chip technologies.

In 2019, the EPA announced $4.25 million was going to be awarded to research alternatives to animal testing.

Source: United States Environmental Protection Agency

In 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it would be awarding $4.25 million in funding to support research into alternatives to animal testing. 

The allocated funds will likely support a range of research areas. For example, it could advance the development of in vitro techniques, which involve testing on cells or tissues in a controlled environment outside of a living organism. Other alternatives might include in silico methods, which rely on computer simulations and computational models to predict biological responses.

Nearly 50 non-animal tests are already available, with many more in development.

Source: The Humane Society of the United States

Companies should be encouraged to commit to the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement) in animal research. 

These principles encourage researchers to replace animal use where possible, reduce the number of animals used in experiments, and refine experimental procedures to minimize animal suffering.

Animal Testing FAQ

How are dogs used in laboratory experiments?

Dogs are used in laboratory settings to test the safety of drugs, medical devices, and pesticides such as weed killer, insect repellent, and rat poison.

How many dogs are used in experiments every year?

Around 60,000 dogs are used in research experiments each year in the US, according to The Humane Society of the United States.

What kinds of institutions use dogs in experiments?

Over 250 institutions in the U.S. report using dogs in experiments each year. This includes pesticide, chemical, and drug companies, as well as public and private universities, technical schools, hospitals, and government-owned facilities.

How many states have banned the sale of animal-tested cosmetics?

Ten US states have banned animal testing for cosmetics, consisting of: California, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia.

Which companies have signed the Humane Cosmetics Act to stop cosmetic testing on animals?

Over 390 companies have signed the Humane Cosmetics Act as of 2023, including companies such as: The Body Shop, Lush Cosmetics, Paul Mitchell Systems, E.l.f. Cosmetics, Whole Foods 365, and Urban Decay.

What are some alternatives to testing on animals?

Alternatives to laboratory testing on animals include methods that use human cells, tissues and organs, organ chips, 3D printing, robotics, computer models, and other new and developing technologies.


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Written by

Meg Marrs

Meg Marrs is the Founder and Director of Marketing at K9 of Mine. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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