UK Government releases 2015 animal research statistics

The UK Government released the Annual Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals Great Britain 2015 in July 2016, which stated that the total number of procedures conducted on animals used for research purposes was 4.14 million. This was an increase from the 2014 levels of 3.87 million procedures but due to different counting techniques, the 2014 data is said to be “artificially low” and that 2015 should be compared more to the 2013 levels of 4.12 million procedures. Of the 4.14 million procedures, Mice, rats, fish and birds account for over 96% of all species used. Dogs, cats and primates accounted for 0.2% of all procedures. Of the procedures, 2.06 million was the creation/breeding of genetically engineered animals not used in experimental procedures. Animal welfare and anti-vivisection groups derided the government statistics, saying they made a “mockery” of the government’s pledge to replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in scientific research. However, the government and prominent scientific bodies stood by the statistics, arguing that all researchers have to prove that only a particular animal model will be possible for this research and that in many types of species, the number of procedures had decreased.