Australian Statistics

These statistics should be used for general purposes only. Figures will be updated as they become available via our friends at Humane Research Australia.

Please visit this page of the Humane Research Australia website for the archive of Australian statistics compiled since 2004.

Animal use in research & teaching, Australia 2015

The latest available figures, from 2015, show that:

  • In Victoria, 1,068,034 animals were used
  • In New South Wales, 6,121,303 animals were used
  • In Tasmania, 159,854 animals were used

Figures for 2015 are not available for Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, or the Northern Territory. However, statistics available from previous years indicate that:

  • In Queensland, an average of 1,202,343 animals were used
  • In South Australia, an average of 315,822 animals were used
  • In Western Australia, approximately 1,119,713 animals were used (2014 figure)
  • 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 2015 to over 10.27 million.

This has been the highest number of animals recorded since 2007 (which was 11,482,411). The high number is largely due to NSW counting 4,123,049 native animals in environmental studies which involved observation only.

Type of animal VIC NSW SA TAS QLD ACT WA NT Total
Mouse 409,436 436,833 n/a 17,164 n/a n/a n/a n/a 863,433
Rat 23,594 28,824 n/a 655 n/a n/a n/a n/a 53,073
Guinea Pig 4,727 3,104 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 7,831
Rabbit 1,500 1,464 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 2,964
Other Lab Animals 3,883 9 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 3,892
Cat 704 2,074 n/a  2 n/a n/a n/a n/a 2,780
Dog 2,864 4,187 n/a 154 n/a n/a n/a n/a 7,205
Other Domestic 133 2,106 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 2,239
Sheep 106,611 48,372 n/a 157 n/a n/a n/a n/a 155,140
Cattle 29,293 34,257 n/a 1,272 n/a n/a n/a n/a 64,822
Pig 6,776 40,549 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 47,325
Horse/Donkey 959 2,370 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 3,329
Other Stock Animals 60 1,187 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 1,247
Native Mammals 12,456 4,150,454 n/a 7,129 n/a n/a n/a n/a 4,170,039
Exotic ‘feral’ Animals 4 12,710 n/a 847 n/a n/a n/a n/a 13,561
Primates 182 200 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 382
Domestic Fowl 85,024 120,597 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 205,621
Other Birds 86,925 326,309 n/a 12,487 n/a n/a n/a n/a 425,721
Reptiles 2,803 22,023 n/a 788 n/a n/a n/a n/a 25,614
Fish 256,949 830,619 n/a  115,114 n/a n/a n/a n/a 1,202,682
Amphibians 6,191 51,682 n/a 119 n/a n/a n/a n/a 57,992
Other Aquatic Animals 24,554 n/a 4,006 n/a n/a n/a n/a 28,560
Other

Adjustment NSW breakdown not tallying

2,406

 

83

1,290

n/a

 

n/a

n/a

 

n/a

 

n/a

 

2,489

1,290

TOTALS 1,068,034 6,121,303 159,894 7,349,231

n/a – Yet to be received

Purpose of Project 2015

Purpose of project VIC NSW SA TAS QLD ACT WA NT Total
Understanding human or animal biology 357,907 147,914 n/a 22,084 n/a n/a n/a n/a 527,905
Maintenance and improvement of human or animal health and welfare 217,975 152,474 n/a 5,700 n/a n/a n/a n/a 376,149
Improvement of animal management or production 69,443 91,603 n/a 94,279 n/a n/a n/a n/a 255,325
Production of biological products 54,811 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 54,811
Diagnostic procedures 607 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 607
Achievement of educational objectives 117,374 48,054 n/a 1,351 n/a n/a n/a n/a 166,779
Environmental study 305,335 5,277,101 n/a 36,480 n/a n/a n/a n/a 5,618,916
Regulatory product testing 62,746 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 62,746
Stock Breeding 259,485 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 259,485
Stock Maintenance 26,508 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 26,508
Other/Unspecified n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 0
TOTALS 1,068,034 6,121,303 159,894 7,349,231

n/a – Yet to be received

Severity of Procedure 2015

Of those animals used in 2015 that were reported (by only three states):

  • 24,920 (or 0.34%) 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 euthanised, 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 anaesthesia or pain relief due to concern that they would alter test results.

  • 107,025 (or 1.46%) 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.

  • 1,113,503 (or 15.15%) were in the ‘Minor conscious intervention’ category

Experiments in this category require the animal(s) to be subjected to minor procedures that would normally not require anaesthesia or analgesia, but can cause some distress. Examples include tail tipping and toe clipping; injections and blood sampling; minor dietary or environmental deprivation; trapping and euthanasia for collection of specimens; and stomach tubing, branding or disbudding (removing the horns from a young animal).

Severity of procedure VIC NSW SA TAS QLD ACT WA NT Total
Observational studies involving minor interference 331,380 4,788,739 n/a 102,124 n/a n/a n/a n/a 5,222,243
Animal unconscious without recovery 120,002 151,234 n/a 32,171 n/a n/a n/a n/a 303,407
Minor conscious intervention 341,740 753,379 n/a 18,384 n/a n/a n/a n/a 1,113,503
Minor operative procedures with recovery 58,299 20,530 n/a 1,658 n/a n/a n/a n/a 80,487
Surgery with recovery 46,047 16,676 n/a 1,300 n/a n/a n/a n/a 64,023
Minor physiological challenge 90,267 73,223 n/a 3,871 n/a n/a n/a n/a 167,361
Major physiological challenge 72,150 34,489 n/a 386 n/a n/a n/a n/a 107,025
Death as an end point 8,149 16,771 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 24,920
Production of genetically modified animals 266,262 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 266,262
Unspecified n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 0
TOTALS 1,068,034 6,121,303 159,894 7,349,231

n/a – Yet to be received

Sources:

VIC

Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, Statistics of Animal Use in Research and Teaching, Victoria, Report Number 33, 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2015. Published April 2017.

NSW

Animal Research Review Panel NSW, Annual Report 2015-2016. Published April 2017.

TAS

Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, Animal Research Statistics Tasmania, Annual Report Number 20 (2015). Published September 2016.

Page updated: May 2017