Animal Welfare Information Center Newsletter, Summer 1996, Vol. 7 No. 2 *************************

A Review of the Animal Welfare Enforcement Report Data 1973 Through 1995

by
Richard L. Crawford, DVM
Animal Welfare Information Center, National Agricultural Library, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, MD

Introduction

Pain/Distress Reporting Categories Animals Used in Research Tables and Figures

Introduction

The data for this review is taken from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal Welfare Enforcement reports, hereafter referred to as "annual reports," issued each year from 1973 through 1995. The annual reports deal with the number of licensed and registered facilities, animals used in pain and distress reporting categories, and the number of regulated animals reported used in research for each of the years. This compilation of the report data from 1973 to 1995 is not meant to be detailed or comprehensive or to establish any definiteconcepts or conclusions. It is offered solely to present the data to those interested in such information, to point out areas of reporting that have changed over the years or that may be of questionable value, and to provide some overall trends in enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) over a 23-year history. It is hoped that this information will stimulate some thought, discussion, and further analysis of the data. For example, although some stolen dogs have been found in research facilities, the number of dogs reported used in research each year certainly does not support the claim that millions of stolen dogs are used in research.

In this review, the following tables contain data from the Animal Welfare Enforcement reports to Congress from 1973 through 1995:

Table 1. Number of Licensees and Registrants: 1973-1995
Table 2. Number of Regulated Animals Used in Research: 1973-1995
Table 3. Number of Animals Used in Pain/Distress Reporting Categories: 1973-1995

Immediately following each table are figures to graphically portray the data from the tables:

Figure 1. Licensed Dealers: 1973-1995
Figure 2. Exhibitors: 1973-1995
Figure 3. Research Facilities: 1973-1995
Figure 4. Pain and Distress Categories: 1973-1995
Figure 5. Animals Used in Research: 1973-1995
Figure 6. Dogs and Cats Used in Research: 1973-1995
Figure 7. Nonhuman Primates Used in Research: 1973-1995
Figure 8. Guinea Pigs, Hamsters, and Rabbits Used in Research: 1973-1995
Figure 9. Other Animals Used in Research: 1973-1995

Notes are provided for each table to indicate issues or events affecting reporting requirements. It should be noted that each year a variable number of research facilities did not submit reports or submitted reports too late to be included in the annual report. The data, therefore, does not include all regulated animals used in research because these late, or nonreporting, facilities were omitted. This problem decreased significantly over the past 4 or 5 years because of a concerted effort by USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Regulatory Enforcement and Animal Care (REAC) unit to improve reporting by research facilities. It should also be noted that this data does not include birds, rats of the genus Rattus, or mice of the genus Mus bred for laboratory use, but it does include wild rats and mice.

The original Laboratory Animal Welfare Act (PL 89-544), passed August 24, 1966, did not require annual reports be made to USDA. The Animal Welfare Act of 1970 (PL 91-579) (approved December 24, 1970) required that research facilities report certain information to USDA, which submits an annual report to Congress containing specific information not later than March of each year. The first Animal Welfare Enforcement report to Congress was in 1973, and annual reports have continued since that time with several reporting changes along the way. Each of the annual report tables will be discussed separately.

Licensees and Registrants

[*ICON*] Table 1 [*ICON*] Figure 1 [*ICON*] Figure 2 [*ICON*] Figure 3
The AWA requires the licensing of animal exhibitors, dealers, and animal auction operators. Registrants are all carriers, intermediate handlers, exhibitors not subject to licensing, and non-Federal research facilities. The number of licensees and registrants for each year are shown in table 1. Figures 1, 2, and 3 show the number of licensed dealers, exhibitors, and research facilities from 1973 to 1995 followed by a brief analysis of each category. Instances that may have affected the reporting are indicated by numbered notes for that year.

Intermediate Handlers

[*ICON*] Table 1
Intermediate handlers are people and businesses that handle animals to and from the airport, during layovers, and between connecting flights. Handlers receive custody of the animals during transportation in commerce. Intermediate handlers were brought under regulation by the 1976 amendments to the AWA. There were 16 registered intermediate handlers in 1978. This figure slowly increased to 301 in 1991 and has decreased since that time to 275 in 1995. Since 1981, the number has fluctuated between 200 and 300 intermediate handlers. These fluctuations are most likely due to people going into and out of business for various reasons.

Carriers

[*ICON*] Table 1
A carrier is a person or enterprise engaged in the business of transporting animals for hire. Carriers are mostly commercial airlines. Carriers were brought under regulation by the 1976 amendments to the AWA. In 1978, there were 50 registered carriers. This figure increased to 145 in 1989 and has steadily decreased since then to 98 in 1995. This decrease is most likely due to changes within the industry, airline mergers, or companies going out of business. Most airlines have sites (cargo and passenger terminals) at many airports throughout the United States. Not all of these sites are inspected by USDA. Inspections by USDA are usually restricted to the larger airports where animal shipments may begin or terminate and at hub airports where animals may change flights or airlines.

Dealers

[*ICON*] Table 1 [*ICON*] Figure 1
A dealer is any person who buys, sells, negotiates the sale, or transports regulated animals (live or dead), or parts of regulated animals for regulated purposes. Retail pet stores, as defined in the AWA regulations, and people selling domestic pet animals directly to the pet owner are not included in the definition of a dealer. There are two classes of dealers: A and B. Class A dealers are breeders who only sell the animals they breed and raise. Class B dealers are those who buy and resell animals, negotiate or arrange for the sale of animals, or deliver for transportation or transport, animals that are in commerce for compensation.

In 1973, the first year USDA was required to report to Congress, there were 4,287 licensed dealers. This figure increased over the next 2 years to a high of 5,680 in 1975. The number of dealers then dropped each year to 3,365 in 1984. Since then, the number of dealers has again risen to 4,400 in 1991 with a slight decline in 1992 and 1993 to a total of 4,080 in 1995. The figures have been more or less stable since 1988.

It is difficult to analyze the increase and decrease in the number of dealers over the years as many factors may be involved. Based on my 27 years in the Animal Welfare program, the following factors probably played a significant role in the variations. The increase from 1973 to 1975 was most likely due to persons starting business and becoming licensed with the idea of making money by selling animals with as little expense as possible. The decrease from 1975 to 1985 was probably due to a combination of economics and USDA enforcement action against the poorest dealers. Those dealers with minimal, or substandard, operations found they could not make sufficient money because of unhealthy animals and additionally were subject to legal action and possible penalties from USDA. As the years went by, USDA increased the number of legal actions and the severity of the penalties against the dealers who were not in compliance. This continuous decline in the number of dealers for about 10 years appears to coincide with enforcement efforts and public concern.

In 1985, the number of dealers started increasing again and has held fairly steady, in the low 4,000 range, since 1988. It was about this time that the wholesale pet trade began to organize because of concerns with poor dealer operations and the industry's economic future in view of bad publicity it was receiving. Concerned members of the pet trade succeeded in organizing and establishing standards for a voluntary, self-regulation program. This effort continues to grow and provide a higher quality animal to the pet market. This has very possibly influenced the stability in the number of dealers since about 1988. Also, several States in the Midwest have passed legislation to oversee dealers and have implemented regulatory programs to improve animal care and housing. These programs, in conjunction with the AWA and with cooperation between the States and APHIS, have impacted dealer operations.

Although the dealer category includes people selling animals for pets, exhibition, research, and auction sales; wild and exotic animal dealers; and some transporters, most are involved in the pet trade. The total number of class B dealers has usually averaged about 25 percent to 30 percent of the total number of dealers, with less than 100 random source B dealers providing animals for research purposes. The rest of the B dealers are involved in the pet trade, wild or exotic animal sales, or transportation. Most A dealers (or breeders) are involved in the pet trade, with a small number raising animals for research. Significant variations in the number of dealers would, therefore, mostly involve the pet trade.

Exhibitors

[*ICON*] Table 1 [*ICON*] Figure 2
An exhibitor is anyone obtaining, distributing, or transporting regulated animals in commerce and exhibiting them to the public for compensation. Most exhibitors meet these requirements and are required to license with USDA. Those who do not obtain, dispose of, or transport animals in commerce and who receive no compensation are registered. Both licensed and registered exhibitors must comply with the same regulations and standards, however. Exhibitors are involved in a variety of endeavors such as municipal or county zoos, roadside and private zoos, theme parks, marine mammal parks, petting zoos, educational exhibits, circuses and carnivals, animal acts, and animals used in television and movie work.

Exhibitors were brought under regulation by the 1970 amendments to the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act and were included in the first report to Congress in 1973. There were 286 licensed exhibitors in 1973. The number of licensed exhibitors has increased each year since then with 1,937 exhibitors being licensed in 1995. Some of this increase is due to the regulation of additional species of animals, such as the regulation of marine mammals in 1979 and farm animals in 1990. Some of the increase is due to changing improperly registered exhibitors to a licensed exhibitor status. Most of the growth, however, has been due to an increase in animal exhibit facilities and animal acts being presented to the public for entertainment and enjoyment.

Registered exhibitors totaled 604 in 1973 and reached a high of 752 in 1974. Since that time, registered exhibitors have steadily decreased each year with a total of 31 in 1995. This is due to the fact that many exhibitors were improperly registered in the first couple of years of regulation when they should have been licensed. Continued review of registered exhibitors by USDA has resulted in most of them being converted to a licensed exhibitor status with only a small number qualifying for registration.

The types of animals involved in the regulation of exhibitors range from wild rodents and bats to elephants and killer whales. The total number of exhibitors (both licensed and registered) was 890 in 1973 and 1,968 in 1995, a little over double the number of exhibitors regulated in 1973.

Research Facilities

[*ICON*] Table 1 [*ICON*] Table 2 [*ICON*] Figure 3
A research facility is any person, institution, organization, or school (except an elementary or secondary school) that uses or intends to use regulated animals in research, tests, experiments, or teaching, and that purchases or transports animals in commerce, or receives Federal funds for carrying out such research, tests, experiments, or teaching. Research facilities that use animals include hospitals, colleges and universities, diagnostic and toxicology laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, and biotechnology industries. Research facilities are classified as active or inactive facilities. An inactive facility is one where no regulated animals are kept or used. The total number of registered research facilities in 1995 was 1,300 (both active and inactive). There were an additional 223 Federal research facilities reporting.

In the first annual report to Congress in 1973, there were 865 registered research facilities. The number of research facilities increased almost yearly to a high of 1,527 in 1992. The total dropped to 1,331 in 1993, rose to 1,511 in 1994, then dropped again slightly to 1,300 in 1995. This is almost a 75-percent increase over the number of registered research facilities in 1973. A research facility may have only one animal site or may have more than a dozen animal sites. In 1995, the 1,300 registered research facilities had 2,688 animal sites. The almost 75-percent increase in research facilities since 1973 presents an interesting statistic, especially when research dollars are reportedly becoming harder to obtain. From the increase in the number of research facilities, one would surmise that the competition for research funding has significantly increased, the amount of funding for research has significantly increased, research has changed to use less expensive methods, or a great deal more private money is being used for research. From this data, it is not clear why the number of research facilities has increased so dramatically but the rapid developments in biotechnology, medicine, and pharmaceuticals are good possibilities.

When one looks at the number of research facilities compared to the total number of animals used in research (excluding birds, laboratory rats and mice, and cold-blooded species) over the same period, the data is even more interesting. The total number of regulated animals used in research is shown in table 2. In 1973, there were 1,653,132 animals reported used in research, not counting farm animals, birds, rats, or mice. In 1995, there were 1,395,644 regulated animals reported used in research, including farm animals but not including birds, rats, or mice. It is recognized that the actual figures on animal use are not complete each year because of too-late reports, or because no reports have been submitted. Because birds, rats, and mice are not included in the number of animals reported, the numbers of these animals may have increased while the number of regulated animals showed little change. There is also some variation in reporting from year to year for various reasons. Still, the overall trend over 23 years should be fairly valid.

The figures vary up and down over the years but remain fairly consistent. Why has the number of research facilities shown an almost 75-percent increase while the total number of animals used has remained fairly steady? There could be any number of reasons. In their book The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique (1959, reprinted in 1992 by the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, Herts, England), W.M.S. Russell and R.L. Burch advanced the concept of the 3Rs--reduction in animal number, refinement of technique to minimize pain and distress, and replacement of animal models with nonanimal models. In current research, the 3R's may be working better than many people realize. It is also possible that economics may have played a role in this as well as scientific and technological improvements within the industry. I will not attempt to offer an answer here, but only to pose the question. Perhaps some industrious person will look into this question more thoroughly.

Federal Agencies

[*ICON*] Table 1
The AWA amendments of 1976 required Federal research facilities to submit an annual report to USDA. The report to Congress for 1976 indicated 40 Federal research facilities reporting for the period from April 22, 1976, through December 31, 1976. The 1977 report showed 134 Federal research facilities reporting. The figures vary between about 130 and 160 reporting Federal research facilities over the next 17 years. In 1994, there were 250 Federal research facilities reporting, with a drop to 223 in 1995. This general increase in the number of Federal research facilities reporting could be due to several factors: (1) A concerted effort on behalf of USDA to improve reporting by research facilities, (2) congressional investigation of research in the Department of Defense (DoD) in the early 1990's, and (3) meetings of the Interagency Research Animal Committee (IRAC). These may all have assisted in improving the reporting by Federal agencies. The 2 years, 1988 and 1989, show 58 reporting Federal research facilities. These figures are not correct. The animal welfare program was removed from USDA, APHIS, Veterinary Services (VS), on September 30, 1988, and established as USDA, APHIS, Regulatory Enforcement and Animal Care (REAC) on October 1, 1988. Because of the reorganization, change of responsibility, new offices and personnel, and new reporting lines, incorrect data was obtained for these 2 years. The correct figures could not be obtained for these years. The next 4 years show reporting Federal research facility numbers about equivalent to the numbers in preceding years, and a significant increase occurred in reporting Federal research facilities in 1994 and 1995. The increased scrutiny of research by Congress, animal rights groups, and the public, plus efforts by USDA, APHIS to improve facility reporting, are probably responsible in part for this increase in reporting Federal research facilities.

Pain/Distress Reporting Categories

[*ICON*] Table 3 [*ICON*] Figure 4
The number of animals used in pain and distress reporting categories each year is shown in table 3. Figure 4 shows the data from 1973 through 1995 followed by a brief analysis of each category. Instances that may have affected the reporting are indicated by numbered notes for that year immediately after the table.

General

The first annual report in 1973 and most of the year of 1974 required only the reporting of the number of "experiments" involving animals with unrelieved pain or distress. In the latter part of 1974, research facilities were required to report the number of animals used involving unrelieved pain or distress rather than the number of experiments. The data for these 2 years, therefore, is questionable when used with the rest of the data in table 3. The first year with valid usable data is 1975. Also, in 1988, APHIS reorganized the animal welfare program by removing it from Veterinary Services (VS) and placing it in Regulatory Enforcement and Animal Care (REAC). In looking at the figures for 1988, it is apparent that they differ somewhat from the figures of the previous years and the years following 1988. The figures may be questionable because of the disruption and change in reporting, inspection, and recordkeeping procedures because of the APHIS reorganization. The 1988 figures should, therefore, be viewed with caution. It should also be remembered that these figures do not include birds, rats, or mice, and only include farm animals starting in June of 1990.

With Pain/Distress and Without Drugs

[*ICON*] Table 3 [*ICON*] Figure 4
The data reported in 1973 and part of 1974 was for the number of experiments involving unrelieved pain or distress to the animals rather than the number of animals used. In late 1974, research facilities were required to report the number of animals subjected to unrelieved pain or distress rather than the number of experiments. The figures in parentheses in 1973 and 1974 indicate the number of experiments while the other figures indicate the number of animals. The first entire year for reporting animals subject to unrelieved pain or distress was 1975. The 1975 annual report indicates 117,756 animals with unrelieved pain were used in research that year. The following years show an up-and-down pattern with a low of 89,624 reported in 1990, a high of 179,187 reported in 1994 and a drop to 123,374 in 1995. The figures show a varied pattern over the years and, except for a peak of 150,191 in 1978, a general increase in the number of animals subjected to unrelieved pain or distress from 1975 to 1985. From 1986 to 1991, there was a general reduction in the number of animals subjected to unrelieved pain or distress and then increases in 1992, 1993, and 1994 to a high of 179,187, with a decrease in 1995. The increase in the number of reported animals used in experiments involving unrelieved pain or distress in 1993 and 1994 may be due to better and more standard reporting procedures and an increase in the number of research facilities reporting on time. There may be other reasons also, such as a change in the type of research being conducted, which is not apparent from the data collected. Additional information is necessary for further analysis. It is interesting to note that there were not corresponding decreases in the number of animals subjected to pain or distress that was alleviated by drugs.

With Pain/Distress and With Drugs

[*ICON*] Table 3 [*ICON*] Figure 4
In 1979, the annual report contained data on the number of animals used in potentially painful or distressful procedures in which the pain or distress was relieved by drugs as well as the number of animals subjected to unrelieved pain or distress. The data for 1979 shows 504,790 animals used in potentially painful or distressful procedures in which the pain or distress was relieved by drugs. The figures hold fairly steady over the years except for spikes in 1985, 1987, 1988, 1992, and 1993. I can offer no reason for the higher numbers in these years other than changes in the type of research that was carried out during these periods or misreporting. Again, more information is necessary to properly explain these figures.

No Pain/Distress and No Drugs

[*ICON*] Table 3 [*ICON*] Figure 4
In 1989, the Department began collecting data on the number of animals used in research projects involving no pain or distress and no pain-relieving drugs. These figures have held fairly steady, at about the 1-million range, over the past 7 years, with the lowest number of 754,712 reported in 1995. There is insufficient data here to draw any conclusions other than that the numbers are fairly comparable each year.

Animals Used in Research

[*ICON*] Table 2
[*ICON*] Figure 5: All Animals [*ICON*] Figure 6: Dogs and Cats [*ICON*] Figure 7: Nonhuman Primates
[*ICON*] Figure 8: Guinea Pigs/Hamsters/Rabbits [*ICON*] Figure 9: Other Animals
The number of regulated animals reported used in research is shown in table 2. Figures 5 through 9 show the breakdown by type of animal. Instances that may have affected the reporting are indicated by numbered notes for that year immediately following the table.

General

The number of animals used in research has been a controversial topic for many years. There is little reliable data on the numberof animals used in research other than Animal Welfare Enforcement, USDA's annual report to Congress. The annual report figures are not accurate and complete in the number of animals used in research for the following reasons:

1. The Animal Welfare Act regulates only warm-blooded animals, and there are some exceptions.

2. Rats of the genus Rattus, mice of the genus Mus, and birds are not presently regulated or required to be reported.

3. Farm animals were not regulated and reported until June 1990.

4. Annual reports compiled by USDA were not complete in that some facility annual reports were not received at all or were received too late to be included in the annual report to Congress. Significant improvement has been made in this area over the past several years.

Even with these omissions, the USDA annual report data is the best available for the numbers of regulated animals used in research. While definitive conclusions cannot be made from this data, general trends can be observed from the numbers of animals reported. Any analysis of the figures on the numbers of animals used in research should also consider the number of registered research facilities, which increased from 865 in 1973 to 1,527 in 1992, then decreased to 1,300 in 1995. I do not intend to do a detailed analysis of these figures, but only to point out general trends and possible influencing factors. I leave the detailed analysis to those more capable than I in these matters. Have fun!

All Animals Used in Research

[*ICON*] Table 2 [*ICON*] Figure 5
This category includes warm-blooded animals used for research except for rats of the genus Rattus, mice of the genus Mus, and birds. Additionally, farm animals used for food, fiber, and other agricultural purposes are not included in these figures.

In 1973, a reported 1,653,345 regulated animals were used in research with 1,395,463 animals reported used in research in 1995. The figures reported between 1973 and 1995 vary with highs of 2,074,133 in 1984, 2,153,787 in 1985, and 2,134,182 in 1992. With the exception of these high years, the rest of the years are fairly constant in the number of animals used in research with some fluctuation but within the range of 1 to 2 million. Overall, the total number of regulated animals used in research has not significantly increased or decreased in the past 23 years. The increase in the number of registered research facilities from 865 in 1973 to 1,300 in 1995 poses some interesting questions. Are more research facilities using fewer animals each year? Are more research facilities using nonregulated animals? Have the 3R's had an impact on the number of animals used? How have economics and increasing costs affected the number of animals used in research? Not only is it likely that all these factors have had some impact on the number of animals used, but additional factors that are not so readily apparent may be involved. A look at the number of animals used, by species, may give an indication of what is happening.

Dogs Used in Research

[*ICON*] Table 2 [*ICON*] Figure 6
In 1973, there were 195,157 dogs reported used in research. This figure stayed in the high 100,000 range until 1985 with peaks of over 200,000 in 1976, 1979, and 1984. There were 194,905 dogs reported used in research in 1985. This number then gradually decreased over the next 10 years to a low of 89,420 dogs in 1995. The number of dogs used appears to be fairly constant between 1973 and 1985. From 1985 to 1995, the numbers of dogs used for research continued to decrease. In 1985, the Improved Standards for Laboratory Animals Act was passed as an amendment to the AWA. This amendment required research facilities to develop and carry out a plan to provide for exercise for dogs maintained at research facilities. It is interesting to note that the decline in the use of dogs reported used for research follows the passage of the 1985 amendment to the AWA. During the period just before 1985 and in the years since 1985, there has been increased concern and pressure from humane and animal rights groups concerning dogs used in research. Could compliance with the opportunity for exercise requirement have encouraged research facilities to review their use of dogs in research and to eliminate the nonessential use of dogs to reduce compliance problems and expenses? This decline suggests that the amendment encouraged implementation of the 3R's and researchers reduced the number of dogs used by substituting other species or methods. It is very likely that other factors, such as economics, also played a role in decreasing the number of dogs used in research since 1985.

Cats Used in Research

[*ICON*] Table 2 [*ICON*] Figure 6
In 1973, there were 66,195 cats reported used in research. This figure rose to a high of 74,259 in 1974. From 1975 to 1987, the number of cats used in research fluctuated in the range of 50,000 to 60,000 except for a rise to 70,468 in 1976. Since 1986, the number of cats used in research has steadily declined to a low 29,569 in 1995. This 9-year decrease in the number of cats used in research is similar to the 10-year decrease in the use of dogs in research. The factors that may have influenced the use of cats in research are not as strong, or comparable, to the factors that possibly influenced the use of dogs in research. There were no special requirements placed on cats by the 1985 amendment as were placed on dogs, so there is no legislative influence to precipitate such a decline in numbers. Is it possible that economic factors, the 3R's, and associated influence from the use of dogs affected the use of cats in research? The decrease in the number of cats used in research during the same time period as the decrease in the number of dogs used may be coincidental, but the time period and decreased numbers suggest a connection. Whatever the cause, there has been a significant decrease in the number of cats used in research since 1973.

Nonhuman Primates Used in Research

[*ICON*] Table 2 [*ICON*] Figure 7
There were 42,298 nonhuman primates reported used in research in 1973, with 51,253 used in 1974 and a low of 36,202 used in 1975. From 1973 to 1995 the number of nonhuman primates reported used in research varied mostly within the range of 40,000 to 50,000 with highs of 59,359 in 1979 and 61,392 in 1987. The 1995 report indicated 50,206 nonhuman primates used in research. Overall, the trend in nonhuman primates used in research appears to be fairly steady. The 1985 amendment to the AWA also required a physical environment adequate to promote the psychological well-being of nonhuman primates. This requirement, however, has not led to a decrease in the number of nonhuman primates used in research as possibly occurred with the use of dogs. There has also been concern and opposition from animal protection groups about use of nonhuman primates in research, but this has apparently not affected the use of nonhuman primates. There are also no apparent economic issues that have led to any decrease in use of nonhuman primates. The data suggests that the type of research involving nonhuman primates either requires nonhuman primates as the animal model or that the research involving nonhuman primates is important enough to continue their use so that the 3R's have had little applicability. Whatever the reasons, the number of nonhuman primates used in research has changed little over the past 22 years.

Guinea Pigs Used in Research

[*ICON*] Table 2 [*ICON*] Figure 8
In 1973, there were 408,970 guinea pigs reported used in research. This figure gradually increased to a high of 598,903 in 1985 and has gradually decreased since 1985 to 333,379 in 1995. From 1973 to 1989, the number of guinea pigs used in research remained largely in the range of 400,000 to 500,000 with spikes into the 500,000 to 600,000 range. Since 1990, the number has decreased. There is no apparent reason for the slight decrease, but it may be due to the type of research being done, increased application of the 3R's, or advancement in methods and technology.

Hamsters Used in Research

[*ICON*] Table 2 [*ICON*] Figure 8
There were 454,986 hamsters reported used in research in 1973 with a high of 503,590 in 1976 and a low of 248,402 in 1995. From 1973 to 1981, the number of hamsters held fairly steady in the range of 400,000 to 500,000. From 1982 to 1989, the figures also included the range of 300,000 to 400,000. Although the numbers vary somewhat from 1990 to 1995, there is a general downward trend over this 6-year period. The data suggests no reasons for this slight decrease other than those suggested for guinea pigs above.

Rabbits Used in Research

[*ICON*] Table 2 [*ICON*] Figure 8
There were 447,570 rabbits reported used in research in 1973, with a high of 554,385 used in 1987 and a low of 354,076 in 1995. Although use of rabbits has varied from year to year, the trend has held fairly steady with usage holding in the range of 400,000 to 500,000. The number has held fairly steady over the years with some variations. The rabbit appears to be the steadiest of all the animal numbers reported. It could be the species that is used most in research except for laboratory rats and mice, which are not regulated or reported at this time.

Farm Animals Used in Research

[*ICON*] Table 2
Farm animals were brought under regulation in June 1990, so the figures for that year may not be complete and may not indicate the true number of farm animals used in research in 1990. The data available indicates that the number of farm animals on a yearly basis would probably be close to the range of 200,000 to 300,000. The 1993 annual report indicated there were 365,233 farm animals used in research. A review of the annual reports by REAC showed this to be an incorrect figure because nonregulated animals such as chickens and other birds were reported. The correct figure for 1993 is 165,416 farm animals used in research (table 2). There is insufficient data at this time to make any assumptions on the trend of farm animal use in research.

Other Animals Used in Research

[*ICON*] Table 2[*ICON*] Figure 9
The category of Other Animals covers a broad range of animal species, from wild rats and mice, squirrels, ferrets, and bats, to wild, exotic, hoof stock, carnivores, and marine mammals. There were 38,169 other animals used in 1973, which is also the lowest number reported, and 126,426 other animals used in 1995. The 1993 annual report indicated that 677,556 other animals were used, which is a tremendous increase from 1992 figures and initiated a review of the report by REAC. The review showed this figure to be wrong because of the inclusion of nonregulated animals reported by research facilities in the other animal category. The correct 1993 figure for other animals used in research is 212,309 which is shown in table 2. The figures shown for 1990-1992 are also suspect because of the high numbers compared to figures for other years. A review was not made of the 1992 annual report figures for other animals but it is very likely that many of the nonregulated animals were reported and inadvertently included in the count for other animals. The general trend has been a significant increase in the number of other animals reported used in research since 1973. The increase in use of these animals may be partly due to the decreased use of dogs, cats, guinea pigs, and hamsters. It may also be due to more research being done in the areas of wild animal management and the fact that some wild animals appear to be good animal models for certain disease conditions. Whatever the reasons may be, the use of other animals in research has increased significantly over the past 23 years.


This article appeared in the Animal Welfare Information Center Newsletter, Volume 7, Number 2, Summer 1996

Go to:
Contents, Animal Welfare Information Center Newsletter
Top of Document

The Animal Welfare Information Center
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Research Service
National Agricultural Library
10301 Baltimore Ave.
Beltsville, MD 20705-2351

Phone: (301) 504-6212
FAX: (301) 504-5181
Contact us: http://awic.nal.usda.gov/contact-us

Policies and Links


USDA logo ARS logo NAL logo
June 18, 2013
This page's URL is http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/newsletters/v7n2/7n2crawf.htm