Statistics 2016 – 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 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 Queensland, 4,519,470 animals were used
  • In Western Australia, 933,242 animals were used.


Figures for 2016 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 2016 to over 12 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

Guinea Pig3,9622,522n/an/a547n/a7,031
Other Lab Animals3,22351n/an/an/a3,274
Other Domestic147216n/an/a127n/a490
Other Stock Animals2,536254n/a1,155n/a4n/a3,949
Native Mammals133,8303,340,256n/a6,94017,072n/a96,232n/a3,594,330
Exotic ‘feral’ Animals2,34615,351n/a58114,201n/a22,441n/a54,920
Domestic Fowl21,91978,262n/a123,891,780n/a614n/a3,992,587
Other Birds47,636214,572n/a57,492182,620n/a84,852n/a587,172
Other Aquatic Animals19,989n/a1031,679n/a8,091n/a29,862
TOTALS1,080,1364,977,239 225,994 4,519,470 933,242 11,736,081

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
Observational studies involving minor interference453,9514,030,182169,834762,0165,415,983
Animal unconscious without recovery109,38587,44312,23310,316219,377
Minor conscious intervention251,491432,69724,29670,788779,272
Minor operative procedures with recovery46,93919,83812,95310,32290,052
Surgery with recovery43,96816,0825074,12964,686
Minor physiological challenge85,98292,5162,38019,873200,751
Major physiological challenge81,52329,1483,7911,201115,663
Death as an end point6,89715,7415122,689
Production of genetically modified animals253,59254,546308,138
TOTALS1,080,1364,977,239 225,994 4,519,470 933,242 11,736,081

2016 Statistics by Project Purpose

Understanding human or animal biology518,3932,839,47238,88037,8073,434,552
Maintenance and improvement of human or animal health and welfare182,039104,590106,17119,435412,235
Improvement of animal management or production109,120111,8809,19835,740265,938
Production of biological products42,89042,890
Diagnostic procedures1,3071,307
Achievement of educational objectives51,77139,3013,97754,558149,607
Environmental study218,8131,539,47567,768216,8232,042,879
Regulatory product testing21,03965621,695
Stock Breeding263,601562,338825,939
Stock Maintenance13,684     5,88519,569
TOTALS1,080,1364,977,239 225,994 4,519,470 933,242 11,736,081



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.


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


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


DAF Animal Ethics Committees Annual Report Summary for the period 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017.
Note that no breakdown was available for Procedure Severity or Project Purpose as stats were provided as number of projects rather than numbers of animals used.

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.

Stay informed

Sign up to our newsletter for all the latest news.