2015 Australian Statistics of Animal Use in Research & Teaching


These statistics should be used for general purposes only. Figures will be updated as they become available.

The latest available figures, from 2015, show that:

  • In Victoria, 1,068,034 animals were used
  • In New South Wales, 6,121,303 animals were used
  • In Tasmania, 159,854 animals were used
  • In Western Australia, 781,706 animals were used.

Figures for 2015 are not available for Queensland, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, or the Northern Territory. However, statistics available from previous years indicate that:

  • In Queensland, an average of 1,202,343 animals were used
  • In South Australia, an average of 315,822 animals were used
    In the Australian Capital Territory, an average of 122,628 animals were used
  • In the Northern Territory, an average of 160,792 animals were used

If figures for all states and territories are collated, this would bring the approximate total number of animals used in Australia in 2015 to over 9.9 million.

This has been the highest number of animals recorded since 2007 (which was 11,482,411). The high number is largely due to NSW counting 4,123,049 native animals in environmental studies which involved observation only.

2015 Statistics by Species

Type of animals Vic NSW SA Tas Qld ACT WA NT Total
Mouse 409,436 436,833 n/a 17,164 n/a n/a 549,180 n/a 1,412,613
Rat 23,594 28,824 n/a 655 n/a n/a 55,188 n/a 108,261
Guinea Pig 4,727 3,104 n/a   n/a n/a 737 n/a 8,568
Rabbit 1,500 1,464 n/a   n/a n/a 189 n/a 3,153
Other Lab Animals 3,883 9 n/a n/a n/a
n/a 3,892
Cat 704 2,074 n/a 2 n/a n/a 159 n/a 2,939
Dog 2,864 4,187 n/a 154 n/a n/a 491 n/a 7,696
Other Domestic 133 2,106 n/a   n/a n/a 1 n/a 2,240
Sheep 106,611 48,372 n/a 157 n/a n/a 44,681 n/a 199,821
Cattle 29,293 34,257 n/a 1,272 n/a n/a 2,655 n/a 67,477
Pig 6,776 40,549 n/a   n/a n/a 3,712 n/a 51,037
Horse/Donkey 959 2,370 n/a   n/a n/a 910 n/a 4,239
Other Stock Animals 60 1,187 n/a   n/a n/a 6 n/a 1,253
Native Mammals 12,456 4,150,454 n/a 7,129 n/a n/a 44,351 n/a 4,214,390
Exotic 'feral' Animals 4 12,710 n/a 847 n/a n/a 6,186 n/a 19,747
Primates 182 200 n/a   n/a n/a 23 n/a 405
Domestic Fowl 85,024 120,597 n/a   n/a n/a 1,975 n/a 207,596
Other Birds 86,925 326,309 n/a 12,487 n/a n/a 42,255 n/a 467,976
Reptiles 2,803 22,023 n/a 788 n/a n/a 8,024 n/a 33,638
Fish 256,949 830,619 n/a 115,114 n/a n/a n/a n/a 1,202,682
Amphibians 6,191 51,682 n/a 119 n/a n/a 16,637 n/a 74,629
Other Aquatic Animals 24,554   n/a 4,006 n/a n/a 4,200 n/a 32,760
Other 2,406 83 n/a   n/a n/a 112 n/a 2,601
Adj - breakdowns not tallying   1290          34   1,324
TOTALS 1,068,034 6,121,303   159,894     781,706   8,130,937

n/a - Yet to be received

2015 Statistics by Procedure Severity

Of those animals used in 2015 that were reported (by only four states):

  • 24,920 (or 0.30%) were in the 'Death as end point' category

The aim of experiments in this category requires the animal(s) to die unassisted, i.e. not euthanased, as death is 'a critical measure of the experimental treatment'. For example, toxicological experiments such as the LD50 test, in which animals are forced to ingest, inhale, be exposed to, or be injected with a particular substance up until the point where 50% of the animals die. The test is generally conducted without anesthesia or pain relief due to concern that they would alter test results.

  • 108,752 (or 1.34%) were in the 'Major physiological challenge' category

Experiments in this category require the animal(s) to remain conscious for some or all of the procedure. There is interference with the animal's physiological or psychological processes. The challenge causes a moderate or large degree of pain/distress, which is not quickly or effectively alleviated. Examples include causing major infection, or artificially inducing cancer, without pain alleviation; isolation or environmental deprivation for extended periods; and monoclonal antibody production in mice.

  • 1,162,518 (or 14.30%) were in the 'Minor conscious intervention' category

Experiments in this category require the animal(s) to be subjected to minor procedures that would normally not require anaesthesia or analgesia, but can cause some distress. Examples include tail tipping and toe clipping; injections and blood sampling; minor dietary or environmental deprivation; trapping and euthanasia for collection of specimens; and stomach tubing, branding or disbudding (removing the horns from a young animal).


Severity of procedure Vic NSW SA Tas Qld ACT WA NT Total
Observational studies involving minor interference 331,380 4,788,739 n/a 102,124 n/a n/a  604,508 n/a 5,826,751
Animal unconscious without recovery 120,002 151,234 n/a 32,171 n/a n/a  8,273 n/a 311,680
Minor conscious intervention 341,740 753,379 n/a 18,384 n/a n/a  49,015 n/a 1,162,518
Minor operative procedures with recovery 58,299 20,530 n/a 1,658 n/a n/a  15,418 n/a 95,905
Surgery with recovery 46,047 16,676 n/a 1300 n/a n/a  3,819 n/a 67,842
Minor physiological challenge 90,267 73,223 n/a 3,871 n/a n/a  19,464 n/a 186,825
Major physiological challenge 72,150 34,489 n/a 386 n/a n/a  1,727 n/a 108,752
Death as an end point 8,149 16,771 n/a   n/a n/a  0 n/a 24,920
Production of genetically modified animals 266,262 n/a   n/a n/a  79,482 n/a 345,744
Unspecified     n/a   n/a n/a   n/a 0
TOTALS 1,068,034 6,121,303   159,894     781,706   8,130,937

n/a - Yet to be received


2015 Statistics by Project Purpose

Purpose of project Vic NSW SA Tas Qld ACT WA NT Total
Understanding human or animal biology 357,907 147,914 n/a 22,084 n/a n/a  31,947 n/a 559,852
Maintenance and improvement of human or animal health and welfare 217,975 152,474 n/a 5,700 n/a n/a  36,891 n/a 413,040
Improvement of animal management or production 69,443 91,603 n/a 94,279 n/a n/a  23,294 n/a 278,619
Production of biological products   54,811 n/a   n/a n/a  0 n/a 54,811
Diagnostic procedures   607 n/a   n/a n/a  0 n/a 607
Achievement of educational objectives 117,374 48,054 n/a 1,351 n/a n/a  16,392 n/a 183,171
Environmental study 305,335 5,277,101 n/a 36,480 n/a n/a  97,280 n/a 5,716,196
Regulatory product testing   62,746 n/a   n/a n/a  707 n/a 63,453
Stock Breeding   259,485 n/a   n/a n/a  570,880 n/a 830,365
Stock Maintenance   26,508 n/a   n/a n/a 4,315 n/a 30,823
Other / Unspecified     n/a   n/a n/a   n/a 0
TOTALS 1,068,034 6,121,303   159,894     781,706   8,130,937

n/a - Yet to be received

Sources:

VIC

Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, Statistics of Animal Use in Research and Teaching, Victoria, Report Number 33, 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2015. Published April 2017.

NSW

Animal Research Review Panel NSW, Annual Report 2015-2016. Published April 2017.

TAS

Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, Animal Research Statistics Tasmania, Annual Report Number 20 (2015). Published September 2016.

Western Australia

Data used to collate figures provided by the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA), 2016. Note: Fish and cephalopods are not mandatory to report.



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