2016 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 2016, show that:

  • In Victoria, 1,080,136 animals were used
  • In New South Wales, 4,977,239 animals were used
  • In Tasmania, 225,994 animals were used
  • In Western Australia, 933,242 animals were used.

Figures for 2016 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 2016 to over 9 million. Approximately 75% of these animals were used for observational studies, however this can still involve some harm to the animals involved.

2016 Statistics by Species

ANIMAL TYPE VIC NSW SA TAS QLD ACT WA NT TOTAL
Mouse 398,277 423,925 n/a 19,376 n/a n/a 540,207 n/a 1,381,785
Rat 24,131 29,284 n/a 808 n/a n/a 58,117 n/a 112,340
Guinea Pig 3,962 2,522 n/a   n/a n/a 547 n/a 7,031
Rabbit 1,464 1,649 n/a   n/a n/a 143 n/a 3,256
Other Lab Animals 3,223 51 n/a n/a n/a   n/a 3,274
Cat 597 1,230 n/a   n/a n/a 188 n/a 2,015
Dog 2,945 4,275 n/a 14 n/a n/a 464 n/a 7,698
Other Domestic 147 216 n/a   n/a n/a 127 n/a 490
Sheep 85,677 42,651 n/a 54 n/a n/a 91,781 n/a 220,163
Cattle 21,822 49,687 n/a 2,184 n/a n/a 1,932 n/a 75,625
Pig 6,849 32,989 n/a   n/a n/a 1,913 n/a 41,751
Horse/Donkey 704 2,235 n/a 3 n/a n/a 549 n/a 3,491
Other Stock Animals 2,536 254 n/a   n/a n/a 4 n/a 2,794
Native Mammals 133,830 3,340,256 n/a 6,940 n/a n/a 96,232 n/a 3,577,258
Exotic 'feral' Animals 2,346 15,351 n/a 581 n/a n/a 22,441 n/a 40,719
Primates 181 96 n/a   n/a n/a 28 n/a 305
Domestic Fowl 21,919 78,262 n/a 12 n/a n/a 614 n/a 100,807
Other Birds 47,636 214,572 n/a 57,492 n/a n/a 84,852 n/a 404,552
Reptiles 3,044 18,196 n/a 1,327 n/a n/a 15,430 n/a 37,997
Fish 294,950 670,498 n/a 136,989 n/a n/a   n/a 1,102,437
Amphibians 3,876 49,008 n/a 111 n/a n/a 9,406 n/a 62,401
Other Aquatic Animals 19,989   n/a 103 n/a n/a 8,091 n/a 28,183
Other 31 32     n/a n/a 176 n/a 239
TOTALS 1,080,136 4,977,239   225,994     933,242   7,216,611

2016 Statistics by Procedure Severity

Of those animals used in 2016 that were reported (by only four states):

  • 22,689 (or 0.31%) 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.

  • 115,663 (or 1.6%) 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.

  • 5,415,983 (or 75%) were in the 'Observational studies involving minor interference' category
SEVERITY OF PROCEDURE VIC NSW SA TAS QLD ACT WA NT TOTAL
Observational studies involving minor interference 453,951 4,030,182   169,834     762,016   5,415,983
Animal unconscious without recovery 109,385 87,443   12,233     10,316   219,377
Minor conscious intervention 251,491 432,697   24,296     70,788   779,272
Minor operative procedures with recovery 46,939 19,838   12,953     10,322   90,052
Surgery with recovery 43,968 16,082   507     4,129   64,686
Minor physiological challenge 85,982 92,516   2,380     19,873   200,751
Major physiological challenge 81,523 29,148   3,791     1,201   115,663
Death as an end point 6,897 15,741         51   22,689
Production of genetically modified animals 253,592         54,546   308,138
TOTALS 1,080,136 4,977,239   225,994     933,242   7,216,611

2016 Statistics by Project Purpose

PURPOSE OF PROJECT VIC NSW SA TAS QLD ACT WA NT TOTAL
Understanding human or animal biology 518,393 2,839,472   38,880     37,807   3,434,552
Maintenance and improvement of human or animal health and welfare 182,039 104,590   106,171     19,435   412,235
Improvement of animal management or production 109,120 111,880   9,198     35,740   265,938
Production of biological products   42,890             42,890
Diagnostic procedures   1,307             1,307
Achievement of educational objectives 51,771 39,301   3,977     54,558   149,607
Environmental study 218,813 1,539,475   67,768     216,823   2,042,879
Regulatory product testing   21,039         656   21,695
Stock Breeding   263,601         562,338   825,939
Stock Maintenance   13,684              5,885   19,569
TOTALS 1,080,136 4,977,239   225,994     933,242   7,216,611

Sources:

VIC

Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, Statistics of Animal Use in Research and Teaching, Victoria, Report Number 34, 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. Published June 2018. See here for further analysis.

NSW

Animal Research Review Panel NSW, Annual Report 2016-2017. Published April 2018. See here for further analysis.

TAS

Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, Animal Research Statistics Tasmania, Annual Report Number 21(2016). Published September 2017.

Western Australia

Data used to collate figures provided by the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA), 2017. Note: Fish and cephalopods are not mandatory to report.



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