Australian research becoming crueller to animals

The number of animals in Australia killed or physically ‘challenged’ by research procedures nearly doubled in three years.

Data from Humane Research Australia

Click to view data

In 2005, just over 600,000 animals were killed or physically ‘challenged’ by research and teaching procedures. By 2008 this had grown to nearly 1.16 million animals: a 92 percent increase, or nearly 555,000 more animals.

The data come from Humane Research Australia, gathered from a variety of sources. HRA points out that there are serious gaps in the data, not least because reporting is patchy – a sign perhaps of the shame some States feel about being honest and transparent about these practices? Taken at face value, they show trends that will shock some and cause concern to many.

The proportion of animals subjected to death or physical ‘challenge’ by procedures increased from about one in six to one in every four animals (from 14 percent in 2005, to 23 percent in 2008).

There was almost a tripling in the number of animals subjected to ‘major physiological challenge’ by research procedures.

It is also interesting also to note the rise in the production of genetically modified animals from around 5,000 in 2005 to 41,000 in 2008. This is a 700 percent rise in three years! A sign of things to come?

The summary table below shows the number of animals used in Australian research and teaching by severity of procedure, and the percent increase from 2005. View the full data here>

Animal use in research and teaching, Australia, 2008
Severity of procedure Number Percent change from 2005
Observational studies involving minor interference 2,288,358 7
Minor conscious intervention 1,389,057 16
Minor operative procedures with recovery 82,904 -68
Surgery with recovery 36,539 -24
Minor physiological challenge * 265,138 62
Major physiological challenge * 320,862 166
Animal unconscious without recovery * 545,463 95
Death as an end point * 26,198 -31
Production of genetically modified animals 41,314 715
Unspecified 120,954 -80
TOTAL 5,116,787 5
* Combined:Killed or physically ‘challenged’ 1,157,661 92

Data source: Humane Research Australia,
Text and data analysis: Animal Rights Hub Australasia