The number of animals killed or physically ‘challenged’ in Australian research has continued its merciless rise.
In 2009, 1.46 million animals were subjected to either death or physical challenge through research procedures in Australia – this equates to nearly a third of all animals used in Australian research.
When 2009 figures are compared to 2005, the number of animals made ‘unconscious without recovery’ has doubled; the number experiencing ‘major physiological challenge’ has more than quadrupled.
Australian research seems to be on an unrelenting, merciless march toward greater animal cruelty.
The table below shows the number of animals used in Australian research and teaching by severity of procedure, and the percent increase from 2005.
The data come from Humane Research Australia (HRA), gathered from a variety of sources. HRA points out that there are serious gaps in the data, not least because data are not available for Queensland, Western Australia or the Northern Territory, and data from the ACT do not provide a breakdown by type of procedure.
Another interesting trend is a rise in the production of genetically modified animals. From 2005 to 2007, the number of genetically modified animals produced under Australian research ranged between 4 and 5 thousand animals. In 2008 this number rose dramatically to over 40,000 animals. And in 2009 it rose even more dramatically – more than doubling to over 100,000 animals. It is difficult to determine the level degree of cruelty or suffering experienced by these animals, but the sharp rise will add to the fears for those concerned for the welfare of animals.
|Animal use in research and teaching, Australia, 2009|
|Severity of procedure||Number||Percent change from 2005|
|Observational studies involving minor interference||2,047,891||-5|
|Minor conscious intervention||1,303,266||9|
|Minor operative procedures with recovery||214,964||-18|
|Surgery with recovery||46,644||-3|
|Minor physiological challenge *||254,361||55|
|Major physiological challenge *||590,533||389|
|Animal unconscious without recovery *||583,253||108|
|Death as an end point *||31,789||-17|
|Production of genetically modified animals||104,339||1,957|
|* Combined:Killed or physically ‘challenged’||1,459,936||142|
Data source: Humane Research Australia, humaneresearch.org.au/statistics/