If the UK continues on its current trajectory, animal experiments will remain for at least another 90 years – we need to achieve #TargetZero.
Despite a drop in the total number of UK animal experiments in 2020, largely explained by two national lockdowns, the Government’s statistics revealed a depressing rise in research on dogs (up by 3%), cats (up by 11%), rabbits (up by 11%) and horses (up by 3%), highlighting no concerted effort to reduce and replace testing on these animals.
Despite incredible advances in science and overwhelming public backing for change, nearly 3 million animals continue to suffer in Britain’s laboratories every year - with over 92% of drugs failing in human clinical trials, despite promising results in animals, either due to lack of effectiveness or safety concerns.
The overall number of animal experiments has fallen by only 1% annually over the past decade (discounting 2020’s unusual drop). If the UK continues on its current trajectory, animal experiments will remain for at least another 90 years.
In June 2020, we joined with Animal Free Research UK and OneKind to launch our #TargetZero petition calling for a concerted effort by government to end the cruel and unreliable use of animal experiments once and for all in the UK.
Tens of thousands of compassionate people signed the petition, helping us to secure a debate in parliament and reach MPs across political parties with our arguments.
The 2020 Statistics
- The number of experiments on dogs (up by 3%), cats (up by 11%) and horses (up by 3%) rose, showing no concerted effort to reduce and replace testing on these animals. The number of experiments on horses increased by 29% in the last decade alone.
- There was an increase in regulatory testing on animals (8% increase) and, in 2020, this accounted for 16% of all experiments.
- The statistics revealed that 115 experiments were conducted on dogs to satisfy plant protection product legislation (which is likely to include pesticides testing).
- There was an increase in the use of rhesus macaques (220 in total in 2020, up 77%).
- A total of 54% of all experiments were conducted by universities. Many were conducted for the purpose of basic research—an area with demonstrably poor reliability and relevance to humans. People deserve better.
Our Target Zero Supporters
Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter film series), Made in Chelsea’s Lucy Watson and Lesley Nicol (Mrs Patmore in Downton Abbey) teamed up with us to re-enact an iconic animal rights demonstration from 100 years ago.
“It’s horrifying to know how many animal experiments take place each year in the UK. To know that so many are unnecessary breaks my heart. In the 1900s people were fighting for animal experiments to stop and, fast forward 100 years, here we are again… so why hasn’t a change been made? With modern science evolving, it’s beyond my comprehension that scientists and universities haven’t made more of an effort to replace animal experiments.” - Lesley Nicol
“Progress must be made. It’s shocking to think that so many animal experiments are unnecessary, yet they still occur and cause a great deal of distress and harm for helpless animals. Very few people know the extent of the problem, so I really hope that this campaign helps to draw attention to the issue. The more it’s talked about, the more likely things will change.” – Lucy Watson
“I have been campaigning for animal rights for as long as I can remember, yet this issue remains one of the biggest issues in animal welfare. The UK carries out more animal experiments than most countries in Europe, but this doesn’t have to the be case. We can - and should - be leaders in paving the way for ethical, effective experiments. I hope that the comparisons drawn between the 1900s and present day demonstrate the need to rethink how we treat animals in science.” - Evanna Lynch