Animal Aid

ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS - The 2002 statistics

Posted 1 July 2003

Animal experiments increased by 4% in 2002, according to the annual Home Office statistics. Not only did millions of animals die, often in extreme agony through lethal poisoning (up 11%), to test agrochemicals (up 41%) or cancer-causing chemicals (up 109%) - but their deaths were pointless and actually served to endanger human health.


SINCE 2001
Total number of procedures on animals 2,732,712   Up 4%
Total number of individual animals used * 2,655,876   Up 3%
Procedures conducted without any anaesthesia (60% of total) 1,634,771   Up 5%
Procedures using transgenic animals (26 % of all procedures) 709,979   Up 12%
Procedures using animals with a harmful genetic defect 259,898   Up 5%
Procedures in education and training 5,364   Down 7%
Research, development and safety testing of pharmaceuticals (24% of total) 660,390   Down 4%
Production of monoclonal antibodies (none produced by ascites in living animals) 4,320   Down 28%
Number of licensed research projects 4,149   Up 0.6%
Number of Home Office Inspectors 25   Up 19%
SINCE 2001
Procedures on mice (63% of the total) 1,720,253   Up 4%
Procedures on rats 509,647   Up 2%
Procedures on guinea pigs 45,568   Down 4%
Procedures on hamsters 6,240   Down 15%
Procedures on rabbits 30,280   Down 10%
Procedures on horse, donkey or crossbred 8,002   Down 9%
Procedures on sheep 33,610   Up 79%
Procedures on pigs 8,453   Up 44%
Procedures on birds 138,347   Up 9%
Procedures on amphibians 15,355   Down 3%
Procedures on fish 181,953   Up 6%
Procedures on cats 1,395   Down 12%
    individual number of cats 616   Down 16%
Procedures on primates 3,977   Down 0.2%
    in toxicity tests 2,790  
    in nervous system of special senses research 620  
    in respiratory or cardiovascular research 298  
    individual number of primates 3,173   Down 5%
Procedures on dogs (7,664 beagles and 300 crossbreeds) 7,964   Up 0.2%
    in respiratory & cardiovascular research 1,195  
    in toxicity tests 4,999  
    individual number of dogs 5,746   Up 3%
Toxicity Tests
SINCE 2001
Testing for toxicity, safety or efficacy (18% of all procedures) 485,767   Up 7%
Toxicity tests of food additives and other foodstuffs 5,414   Up 56%
Toxicity tests of household products 1,032   Up 75%
Toxicity tests of industrial substances 42,280   Down 20%
Toxicity tests of agricultural chemicals (includes 440 beagles) 57,804   Up 41%
Toxicity tests for environmental pollution 38,214     SAME
Lethal short-term toxicity tests 135,626   Up 11%
Toxicity procedures required by legislation (British & overseas) 421,603   Up 8%
Test for cancer-causing chemicals 19,109   Up 109%
Eye irritancy tests 1,271   Down 13%
Tests for fever-causing potential (pyrogenicity) 10,872   Down 7%
Toxicity testing of cosmetics 0     SAME
SINCE 2001
Fundamental research (31% of all procedures) 864,277   Up 11%
Cancer research 258,145   Down 4%
Tobacco research 0   Down 100%
Alcohol research 2,330   Down 24%
$ Interference with organs of sight, hearing, smell or taste 16,628   Up 1%
$ Injection into the brain 26,415   Up 5%
$ Interference with the brain 29,039   Down 6%
$ Procedures deliberately causing psychological stress 9,804   Down 5%
$ Procedures involving adversive training 7,648   Down 30%
$ Exposure to radiation 9,199   Up 27%
$ Thermal injury 28   Down 92%
$ Physical injury to mimic human injury 11,769   Up 81%
$ Inhalation 47,485   Up 8%
Psychological research 39,642   Up 5%

*The difference between the numbers of procedures and numbers of animals is due to some animals being used in more than one procedure.
$ The Home Office has listed these procedures as being of "particular interest".

Some points of interest

  • The total number of procedures on animals in 2002 rose to 2.7 million, an increase of 4% from the previous year. (2001 had seen the lowest number of procedures reported since the current legislation in 1986.)

  • 60% of all procedures on living animals are performed without any form of anaesthesia.

  • Procedures on genetically manipulated (transgenic) animals now represent a quarter of all procedures, and have increased by 12% from last year. Procedures on transgenic animals have consistently risen every year since 1990 when they represented a mere 1.5% of the total.

  • The number of procedures on mice, rats. sheep, pigs, birds and fish increased in 2002. Procedures on dogs and primates were similar to the previous year. Procedures guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, cats, amphibians, and horses/donkeys/crossbreeds decreased.

  • There were no procedures on octopus, greyhounds, camelids, baboons or great apes. No great apes (that is chimpanzees, gorillas, and orang-utans) have been used in Great Britain since before the introduction of the current legislation in 1986.

  • Categories of research. Procedures on animals for fundamental biological research increased by 11%, and now represent 31% of the total. Use of animals for the research, development and testing of drugs has been decreasing for several years and now account for 24% of the total.

  • Toxicity tests accounted for 18% of all procedures. Toxicity testing of foodstuffs, household products, and agricultural chemicals increased, while tests of industrial substances decreased. Testing of cosmetic products or ingredients is no longer permitted in the UK.

  • There was a disturbing increase in tests to detect cancer-causing substances and short-term lethal toxicity tests. Eye irritancy tests and pyrogenicity tests continued to decrease in 2002 – alternatives to both these tests are increasingly used instead of living animals.

  • Procedures on animals for the production of monoclonal antibodies fell by 28%. All these procedures were for the initial immunization of animals, and none were for raising monoclonal antibodies in the abdomens of living animals (ascites method), thanks to the development of cell culture alternatives.

  • There were 31 infringements recorded during 2002. Of these, 26 were categorised as Class Two or Three infringements, and as such are defined as potentially criminal offences. However, no licences were revoked and there were no prosecutions.

Information supplied by the Dr Hadwen Trust, 84A Tilehouse Street, Hitchin, Herts, SG5 2DY, 01462 436819, email

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