Azara Blog: 115 million animals allegedly used in lab experiments worldwide each year

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Date published: 2008/08/19

The BBC says:

A new analysis claims the number of animals used worldwide in laboratory experiments is close to 115 million.

The annual figure is based on official statistics from 37 countries, but includes estimates for nations where data is unavailable.

The report hopes that better records will encourage more responsible policy-making and regulation.

Reported in the journal Alternatives to Laboratory Animals, the figure has been contested by pro-experiment groups.

The global estimate is the result of a joint venture between the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection and the Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research.

They said it was the first estimate of global numbers of animals used in scientific research.
The research included animals that are used to maintain stocks, and also included animals deemed surplus and humanely killed.

In previous estimates, neither of these categories were included in national statistics.

"It is troubling that there are so many countries that appear not to record the lives of those animals suffering in their laboratories," said Wendy Higgins of the Trust.

"Knowing the number of animals used gives real ammunition for the general public to put pressure on their governments to play their part in the global reduction and replacement of animals in experiments," she told BBC News.

Given who funded the work, and given who published the work, and given the statement by Higgins, it is pretty clear that this was not a work of medical science so much as one of political science. These people hate animals being used in research and want to stop it, and want to use shock figures to try and accomplish their goal. But even if you want to accept their figures, is 115 million a big number? Sure, it sounds like a big number to Joe Public. But you can easily play the emotional blackmail game in the other direction. Ask Joe Public if they would rather have 115 million animals suffer or 115 million people (or pick some other semi-random number) suffer due to unsafe drugs coming on the market.

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