Statistics 2015 – Animal use in research and teaching, Australia

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 animalsVicNSWSATasQldACTWANTTotal
Guinea Pig4,7273,104n/an/an/a737n/a8,568
Other Lab Animals3,8839n/an/an/an/a3,892
Other Domestic1332,106n/an/an/a1n/a2,240
Other Stock Animals601,187n/an/an/a6n/a1,253
Native Mammals12,4564,150,454n/a7,129n/an/a44,351n/a4,214,390
Exotic ‘feral’ Animals412,710n/a847n/an/a6,186n/a19,747
Domestic Fowl85,024120,597n/an/an/a1,975n/a207,596
Other Birds86,925326,309n/a12,487n/an/a42,255n/a467,976
Other Aquatic Animals24,554n/a4,006n/an/a4,200n/a32,760
Adj – breakdowns not tallying1290 341,324

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 procedureVicNSWSATasQldACTWANTTotal
Observational studies involving minor interference331,3804,788,739n/a102,124n/an/a 604,508n/a5,826,751
Animal unconscious without recovery120,002151,234n/a32,171n/an/a 8,273n/a311,680
Minor conscious intervention341,740753,379n/a18,384n/an/a 49,015n/a1,162,518
Minor operative procedures with recovery58,29920,530n/a1,658n/an/a 15,418n/a95,905
Surgery with recovery46,04716,676n/a1300n/an/a 3,819n/a67,842
Minor physiological challenge90,26773,223n/a3,871n/an/a 19,464n/a186,825
Major physiological challenge72,15034,489n/a386n/an/a 1,727n/a108,752
Death as an end point8,14916,771n/an/an/a 0n/a24,920
Production of genetically modified animals266,262n/an/an/a 79,482n/a345,744

n/a – Yet to be received


2015 Statistics by Project Purpose

Purpose of projectVicNSWSATasQldACTWANTTotal
Understanding human or animal biology357,907147,914n/a22,084n/an/a 31,947n/a559,852
Maintenance and improvement of human or animal health and welfare217,975152,474n/a5,700n/an/a 36,891n/a413,040
Improvement of animal management or production69,44391,603n/a94,279n/an/a 23,294n/a278,619
Production of biological products54,811n/an/an/a 0n/a54,811
Diagnostic procedures607n/an/an/a 0n/a607
Achievement of educational objectives117,37448,054n/a1,351n/an/a 16,392n/a183,171
Environmental study305,3355,277,101n/a36,480n/an/a 97,280n/a5,716,196
Regulatory product testing62,746n/an/an/a 707n/a63,453
Stock Breeding259,485n/an/an/a 570,880n/a830,365
Stock Maintenance26,508n/an/an/a4,315n/a30,823
Other / Unspecifiedn/an/an/an/a0

n/a – Yet to be received



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.


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


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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