Use Of Monkeys And Dogs Rises Despite Overall Reduction In Animal Testing: Cruelty Free International

Animal Testing - Monkey
Photo by Alexandra Mirgheș on Unsplash

Cruelty Free International, the leading organization working to end animal testing around the world, welcomes the fall in the number of scientific experiments conducted in Canada in 2022 – but is shocked and disappointed by the significant increases in the use of monkeys and dogs.

Whilst official figures on the total number of animals used in experiments in Canada, released by the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC), showed a 5% fall in 2022, to 3,521,143, there was a 15% increase in the use of monkeys, to 7,848, and a 4% increase in the use of dogs, to 10,417.

There were also significant increases in the numbers of pigs (37%), reptiles (35%), “other animals” (e.g. ferrets) (28%), cattle (14%) and rats (7%) used in experiments in 2022. The largest decreases were seen in the use of birds (down 64%) and cats (down 28%).

There had officially been 3,692,479 uses of animals in experiments in 2021.

However, the true totals are likely to be higher, as the CCAC figures only include data supplied by accredited organizations. Not all Canadian institutions participate in the CCAC’s voluntary program.

Only 5% of the total of 3.5 million experiments were required by regulators testing the safety of products. A further 58% were for basic research purposes, and 8% for education and training – a sector in which there was a 121% increase during 2022.

Over 105,000 animals (2.8% of the total) were used in experiments classified as causing the most “severe pain near, at, or above the pain tolerance threshold of unanesthetized conscious animals.” Of those, a surprisingly high total of 50% were used for regulatory tests, with 30% used for basic research purposes.

In 2015, Cruelty Free International estimated Canada to be the fourth biggest user of animals in scientific research in the world, behind only China, Japan and the United States of America. Those estimates also calculated Canada to be the third-biggest user of dogs and the fifth-biggest user of monkeys.

Monica Engebretson, Cruelty Free International’s Head of Public Affairs North America, said, “Whilst we welcome the overall small decrease in the number of tests conducted in Canada, far more needs to be done to end the cruel use of animals in research and testing. We had hoped to see a much larger decrease in the number of animals used, when public demand for humane science, and the development of non-animal testing methods, are both increasing.

“These figures highlight the need for other sectors to follow the lead of the Canadian cosmetics industry which broadly supported the passage of the Canadian government’s ban on animal testing for new products and ingredients which comes into effect on December 22. There was overwhelming support from the public, politicians, and companies for the legislation, and we now need this ethos of collaboration, innovation, and commitment to be adopted by other industries and sectors.”


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