University of Bristol
Wellcome Trust
Recommended by:
Society of Biology
PEEP for Physics & Ethics at GCSE

Animals in research

What animals are used in research?

Pie chart showing the relative proportion of species that are used in research.
Numbers relate to procedures
on animals in Great Britain in
2002 (figures from  RDS Online)

85% - Rats, mice and other rodents

12% - Fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds (including fertilised hen's eggs)

2.1% - Sheep, cows, pigs and other large animals

1.5% - Small mammals other than rodents, mostly rabbits and ferrets

0.3% - Dogs and cats

0.15% - Monkeys, such as marmosets and macaques  

A rat.By far the most frequently used animals are rats and mice and all are specially bred for lab research. No strays or unwanted pets can be used and the great apes: chimpanzees, orang-utans and gorillas, have not been used in the UK for over 20 years and their use is now banned.

Activity: Questions:
Are these animal species of equal moral importance, or are some species more valuable than others?
Is this relative importance reflected in the numbers of animals used?
Why do you think this?

Next: Which fields of research and testing use animals?


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