New statistics show that in 2020, 2.88 million procedures were carried out in Great Britain involving living animals. This is a decrease of 15% on last year and the lowest number of procedures since 2004.
Advances in computer modelling, cell cultures and study design have all led to fewer animals being used year on year in medical research. Dr Jennifer Harris
Over half (53%) of experimental procedures were for the purpose of basic research. Most commonly focusing on the immune system, the nervous system, and cancer.
In response, Dr Jennifer Harris, Head of Research Policy at the ABPI, said:
“Advances in computer modelling, cell cultures and study design have all led to fewer animals being used year on year in medical research.
“The use of animals remains an essential part of medical research, including in developing vaccines and treatments for COVID19. The pharmaceutical industry remains committed to replacing, reducing and refining the numbers of animals used in research and continue to play our role in finding viable alternatives.”
The majority (92%) of procedures (both for experimental and breeding purposes) used mice, fish, or rats. These species have been the most used for more than a decade.
Last modified: 20 September 2023
Last reviewed: 20 September 2023