Animal Research Saves Lives
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EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES

Quick Facts About Animal Research


Number and kinds of animals used

The Office of Technology Assessment estimates that 17-23 million animals are used in the United States for research every year.1 The vast majority of these – about 95% – are rats and mice specifically bred for research. In 2000, there were 69,516 dogs and 25,560 cats used in research.2 By comparison, wildlife biologists estimate that over one million animals are killed every day by automobiles – over 365 million per year. 3

Dogs, cats, and non-human primates combined account for less than 3/4 of a percent of the total and their numbers has been declining for nearly 30 years. The number of dogs used in biomedical research has declined 67% since 1973, and the number of cats used in biomedical research has declined 63% since 1973. 4

The number of dogs and cats used is declining


Source: USDA Annual Report 2000


Pain and distress


Most animals
do not experience significant pain or distress




Source: USDA Annual Report 2000

 


The majority of animals used in biomedical research do not experience significant pain or distress.

According to the 2000 USDA Annual Report, 63% of animals experienced slight or momentary pain, such as an injection. Twenty-nine percent of the research procedures employed anesthesia and postoperative painkillers. In seven percent of the procedures, neither anesthesia nor pain medication could be used, as they would have interfered with research results. 5 However, when this is the case, pain is minimized as much as possible.



The investment in animal research

In 2000, about $45 billion was spent in the United States for biomedical research.6 This figure includes all research, not only research with animals, and it includes both government and private funding. By comparison, Americans spent $1,299.5 billion on health care in the year 2000.7 In other words, for every dollar spent on health care, three and a half cents were spent on research.

Economists estimate that the increase in life expectancy from the 1970s and 1980s alone was worth $57 trillion to Americans. The value of improvements in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases alone is estimated to be $31 trillion. 8

The contribution of animal research to these savings is unquestionable. A report by the Lasker Foundation concluded that Americans save $9 billion every year from the development of lithium as a treatment for bipolar disorder, development for which animal research was crucial. A $56 million research program on testicular cancer has yielded a 91% cure rate, and annual savings of $166 million. 9

 

Scientists are pleased that the small investment in animal research yields improved treatments and cures that save money. But far more rewarding is the knowledge that animal research saves lives.

 

 

 

References
1. U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Alternatives to Animal Use in Research, Testing, and Education (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, OTA-BA-273, February 1986). http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/ota/Ota_3/DATA/1986/8601.PDF

2. USDA Animal Care Report, 2000. http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ac/awrep2000.pdf

3. Wall Street Journal, August 1, 2002. "In the Headlights: As Man and Beast Clash on Highways, Both Sides Lose." Page A1.

4. USDA Animal Care Report, 2000. http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ac/awrep2000.pdf

5. USDA Animal Care Report, 2000. http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ac/awrep2000.pdf

6. Lasker Foundation, Exceptional Returns: The Economic Value of America's Investment in Biomedical Research, 2000. http://www.laskerfoundation.org/reports/pdf/exceptional.pdf

7. National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 2002. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/hexpense.htm

8. Lasker Foundation, Exceptional Returns: The Economic Value of America's Investment in Biomedical Research, 2000. http://www.laskerfoundation.org/reports/pdf/exceptional.pdf

9. Lasker Foundation, Exceptional Returns: The Economic Value of America's Investment in Biomedical Research, 2000. http://www.laskerfoundation.org/reports/pdf/exceptional.pdf

 

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