2017 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 2017, show that:

  • In Victoria, 1,571,374 animals were used
  • In New South Wales, 2,625,290 animals were used
  • In Tasmania, 288,386 animals were used
  • In Queensland, 13,298,741 animals were used
  • In Western Australia, 2,376,678 animals were used.

Figures for 2017 are not available for South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, or the Northern Territory. However, statistics available from previous years indicate that:

  • 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 2017 to almost 21 million – a massive increase over the previous year (approx. 12 million in 2016). Please refer to the notes below for an explanation of this increase.

ANIMAL TYPE VIC NSW SA TAS QLD ACT WA NT TOTAL
Mouse 521,636 447,033   11,149 25   491,994   1,471,837
Rat 20,859 43,565   697     59,351   124,472
Guinea Pig 4,020 3,767         866   8,653
Rabbit 1,680 2,972         116   4,768
Other Lab Animals 3,654             3,654
Cat 538 881   5 975   188   2,587
Dog 4,469 3,703   377 1,986   833   11,368
Other Domestic 2,149 1,159     972   27   4,307
Sheep 86,719 72,204   247 5,439   107,499   272,108
Cattle 27,362 24,926   3,972 34,344   29,563   120,167
Pig 4,699 67,463     678   5,543   78,383
Horse/Donkey 551 1,958   600 624   267   4,000
Other Stock Animals 1,629 572         9   2,210
Native Mammals 9,802 29,220   20,830 470,222   1,222,724   1,752,798
Exotic 'feral' Animals 4,266 5,338   72,618 12,022   55,622   149,866
Primates 227 38         7   272
Domestic Fowl 90,488 96,235   398 12,094,107   575   12,281,803
Other Birds 58,706 349,642   42,360 286,399   152,000   889,107
Reptiles 3,325 17,568   1,282 73,474   44,934   140,583
Fish 666,089 1,423,932   117,264 307,674   185,681   2,700,640
Amphibians 39,146 33,093   23 7,857   9,597   89,716
Other Aquatic Animals 19,326     16,564 1,943   9,276   47,109
Other 34 21         6   61
Adj - breakdowns not tallying                 0
TOTALS 1,571,374 2,625,290   288,386 13,298,741   2,376,678   20,160,469
PURPOSE OF PROJECT VIC NSW SA TAS QLD ACT WA NT TOTAL
Understanding human or animal biology 679,260 190,894   21,631     34,466   926,251
Maintenance and improvement of human or animal health and welfare 225,688 116,835   8,331     18,029   368,883
Improvement of animal management or production 78,270 167,998   7,519     51,816   305,603
Production of biological products   55,365             55,365
Diagnostic procedures   1,134             1,134
Achievement of educational objectives 110,932 36,815   8,408     94,342   250,497
Environmental study 477,224 1,725,768   242,497     1,652,227   4,097,716
Regulatory product testing   16,557         833   17,390
Stock Breeding   300,720         522,697   823,417
Stock Maintenance   13,204              2,258   15,462
Other / Unspecified               13,298,741             10   13,298,751
TOTALS 1,571,374 2,625,290   288,386 13,298,741   2,376,678   20,160,469
SEVERITY OF PROCEDURE VIC NSW SA TAS QLD ACT WA NT TOTAL
Observational studies involving minor interference 405,932 1,594,948   243,627     1,635,365   3,879,872
Animal unconscious without recovery 165,777 83,924   13,645     81,339   344,685
Minor conscious intervention 649,582 447,235   19,367     544,118   1,660,302
Minor operative procedures with recovery 43,498 29,891   2,861     10,778   87,028
Surgery with recovery 38,619 28,436   392     30,505   97,952
Minor physiological challenge 146,470 94,184   6,833     21,470   268,957
Major physiological challenge 115,625 77,292   1,653     1,769   196,339
Death as an end point 5,871 13,982   8     228   20,089
Production of genetically modified animals 255,398         51,106   306,504
Unspecified         13,298,741       13,298,741
TOTALS 1,571,374 2,625,290   288,386 13,298,741   2,376,678   20,160,469

Notes:

Western Australia

WA figures increased significantly from the previous year due to 1.2 million native animals used in environmental studies under the category "Observational studies involving minor interference".

HRA queried the WA Dept. about this increase and have been advised the figure includes a variety of native species but there was either no animal interaction or alternatively, where there is interaction, it is not expected to compromise animal welfare any more than normal handling or feeding would. They identified that there was significant variability in reporting from camera images. Specifically, camera images were not able to differentiate between individual animals so licensees were likely to report a significantly larger number of individuals than were actually used for scientific purposes. For example, multiple images may be taken of the same individual.

They were further informed that reporting methods have since been modified to differentiate between animals used for observation purposes, versus animals appearing in camera images. It is hoped that this will result in more accurate reporting numbers in the future.

Queensland

Queensland figures also increased significantly from the previous year (13.3 million in 2017 versus 4.5 million in 2016).  The 2017 figure includes over 12 million domestic fowl, however the Queensland Dept. Agriculture & Fisheries has not provided a breakdown of purpose nor category (ie impact on animals). These categories list the number of projects rather than the number of animals.

HRA therefore lodged an FOI to determine the purpose and category for which these birds were used. The information released indicated that the research was non-invasive. 

Sources:

Victoria - Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, Statistics of animal use in research and teaching, Victoria, Report Number 35, 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2017. Published June 2019

New South Wales - NSW Animal Use Statistics Report 2017. Published June 2019

Tasmania - Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, Animal Research Statistics Tasmania, Annual Report Number 22 (2017), September 2018.

Queensland - DAF Animal Ethics Committees Annual Report Summary for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018

Western Australia - Data used to collate figures provided by the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA), November 2018.


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