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USA: Experimental animal numbers decrease by 6.5%

Research facilities registered with the United States Department of Agriculture are required to submit an annual report docu­menting their use of animals for research, testing, teaching and experimentation under the Animal Welfare Act. In comparison to statistics from Europe, these reports do not include mice, rats or birds used for these purposes. These animals have been in­cluded in the Animals Welfare Act, but with the exception of those bred for research purposes. The AWA does also not in­clude cold-blooded animals such as fish and reptiles.


The total number of animals reported covering all States for 2013 was 891,000; this is 6.5% less than in 2012 and contin­ues a decreasing trend started in 2011. Animals most commonly used were guinea pigs (191,000), rabbits (170,000) and ham­sters (137,000). About 24,000 cats, 68,000 dogs and 64,000 non-human primates were used in 2013. Of the total number, 32% were subjected to painful experiments with analgesics and 10% were submitted to painful experiment without the use of analgesics.


Considering that in Germany (see News above) mice, rats, fish and birds, which are not covered in the US numbers, make up 94% of animals used for scientific purposes, it is difficult to estimate how high total use of experimental animals is in the US. If the ratios of animal species were similar to those in Ger­many, the total figure would be around 18 million animals, how­ever as animal experiments on these species need not undergo any approval process or ethical evaluation, the number is likely to be far higher.




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