Australians say no to animal experiments

An opinion poll, commissioned by Humane Research Australia has revealed that the majority of Australians is opposed to animal experiments and call for more funding to be allocated to seeking scientific alternatives.

The survey was conducted by Nexus Research in May 2013.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Only 57% of the general public is even aware that animals are used in experimental research in Australia these days.

  • 64% of respondents do not believe that humans have the moral right to experiment on animals.

  • Only 13% of respondents said that they would donate to health or medical research charity if they knew it were funding animal experiments.

  • More than half the population (56%) do not believe that it is always safe to transfer results from animal research to apply to humans. A further 31% didn’t know.

  • 81% consider that the number of animals used for research and teaching in Australia (approx 7 million p.a.) is unacceptable or is capable of reduction.

  • 81% agreed that Australia should follow the European Union and ban the sale of cosmetics tested on animals. The number increased to 85% (effective target market) for females.

  • 73% support allocating a proportion of medical research grants to funding scientific alternatives to animal experiments.

Chief Executive Officer, Helen Marston, said today “Approximately 7 million animals are used in research and teaching in Australia every year. It’s heartening to know that the majority of Australians are opposed to such an archaic practice and recognize the need to seek more humane and scientifically-valid options.”

Note on Method:

The data was collected by internet survey using the ResearchNow panel which covers Australia.  To ensure representative sampling, age/sex quota were imposed by State in proportion to known population totals.  Fieldwork covered the period May  11-14, 2013.   
(The 2008 survey, conducted in November of that year, used the same methodology).

Respondents completed the questionnaire on-line, either by clicking on pre-coded answers or typing in their own verbatim comments.  Nexus Research wrote and hosted the questionnaire on its website.  In relevant questions; eg. those probing Support or Not Support, answers were automatically rotated so as to avoid order bias.

The data collected was checked for quality via logic, pattern analysis and timing.  Verbatim answers, eg. on awareness of organisations, were then categorised and coded to enable tabulation and charting.  Finally, the data was stratified by four demographic segments within State and weighted to ABS estimates of the Australian population (16+yrs) at mid-2012.  (The 2008 survey used comparable figures for mid-2007).   All processing and reporting was conducted entirely in-house by Nexus.

 

Questions asked:

  • Are you aware that animals are used in experimental research in Australia these days?
  • Do you believe or not believe that humans have the moral right to experiment on animals?
  • Would you donate to a health or medical research charity if you knew that it would be funding animal experiments?
  • Do you believe or not believe that it is always safe to transfer results from animal research (eg. from rabbits, mice, rats and dogs) to apply to humans?
  • Figures collected from state authorities show that approximately 7 million animals a year are used in research and teaching in Australia. This compares to the United Kingdom's figure of 3.8 million. Do you view the Australian number as totally unacceptable, capable of considerable reduction, capable of some reduction, acceptable, totally acceptable or don't know?
  • The European Union has now banned the sale of cosmetics tested on animals. Should Australia do the same thing?
  • To what extent would you support allocating a proportion of medical research grants to finding scientific alternatives to animal experiments?

 

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