Statistics 2017 – Animal use in research and teaching, Australia

These statistics should be used for general purposes only.

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 TYPEVICNSWSATASQLDACTWANTTOTAL
Mouse521,636447,033 11,14925 491,994 1,471,837
Rat20,85943,565 697  59,351 124,472
Guinea Pig4,0203,767    866 8,653
Rabbit1,6802,972    116 4,768
Other Lab Animals3,654       3,654
Cat538881 5975 188 2,587
Dog4,4693,703 3771,986 833 11,368
Other Domestic2,1491,159  972 27 4,307
Sheep86,71972,204 2475,439 107,499 272,108
Cattle27,36224,926 3,97234,344 29,563 120,167
Pig4,69967,463  678 5,543 78,383
Horse/Donkey5511,958 600624 267 4,000
Other Stock Animals1,629572    9 2,210
Native Mammals9,80229,220 20,830470,222 1,222,724 1,752,798
Exotic ‘feral’ Animals4,2665,338 72,61812,022 55,622 149,866
Primates22738    7 272
Domestic Fowl90,48896,235 39812,094,107 575 12,281,803
Other Birds58,706349,642 42,360286,399 152,000 889,107
Reptiles3,32517,568 1,28273,474 44,934 140,583
Fish666,0891,423,932 117,264307,674 185,681 2,700,640
Amphibians39,14633,093 237,857 9,597 89,716
Other Aquatic Animals19,326  16,5641,943 9,276 47,109
Other3421    6 61
          
TOTALS1,571,3742,625,290 288,38613,298,741 2,376,678 20,160,469
       
PURPOSE OF PROJECTVICNSWSATASQLDACTWANTTOTAL
Understanding human or animal biology679,260190,894 21,631  34,466 926,251
Maintenance and improvement of human or animal health and welfare225,688116,835 8,331  18,029 368,883
Improvement of animal management or production78,270167,998 7,519  51,816 305,603
Production of biological products 55,365      55,365
Diagnostic procedures 1,134      1,134
Achievement of educational objectives110,93236,815 8,408  94,342 250,497
Environmental study477,2241,725,768 242,497  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
TOTALS1,571,3742,625,290 288,38613,298,741 2,376,678 20,160,469
       
SEVERITY OF PROCEDUREVICNSWSATASQLDACTWANTTOTAL
Observational studies involving minor interference405,9321,594,948 243,627  1,635,365 3,879,872
Animal unconscious without recovery165,77783,924 13,645  81,339 344,685
Minor conscious intervention649,582447,235 19,367  544,118 1,660,302
Minor operative procedures with recovery43,49829,891 2,861  10,778 87,028
Surgery with recovery38,61928,436 392  30,505 97,952
Minor physiological challenge146,47094,184 6,833  21,470 268,957
Major physiological challenge115,62577,292 1,653  1,769 196,339
Death as an end point5,87113,982 8  228 20,089
Production of genetically modified animals 255,398    51,106 306,504
Unspecified    13,298,741   13,298,741
TOTALS1,571,3742,625,290 288,38613,298,741 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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