The following statement by Justin Goodman, the Director of PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department, was released today.
As reported in Science, it’s a sign of the times that for scientific and ethical reasons, the use of certain species of animals in harmful and often deadly experiments is dropping. Given our goal of ensuring that every laboratory cage will one day be empty, PETA is encouraged by data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) showing a sizeable decrease in the numbers of animals in U.S. laboratories in 2014.
A total of just over 1 million dogs, cats, primates, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, and other animals covered by law were confined to or used in U.S. laboratories in 2014. This is a welcome decrease of more than 3 percent since 2013 and 13 percent since 2008. The number of animals used in experiments that cause significant, ongoing pain for which no pain relief was given also dropped, by 15 percent since 2013 to 72,000. This is down from a disturbingly high 97,000 in 2010. The use of dogs, cats, and primates in experiments all fell by more than 10 percent since 2013 as well.
It’s crucial to recognize that these figures do not include the mice, rats, cold-blooded animals, and others who also feel pain and fear and constitute more than 98 percent of animals in laboratories but are not protected by any federal law. A recent PETA study showed that the use of these unprotected species is increasing at troubling rates in an age when replacing them with more sophisticated testing methods would be expected if science is to thrive in the future.
PETA’s team of scientists, researchers, and campaigners will continue to work with government agencies, Fortune 100 companies, and policymakers to promote and fund the development, validation, and use of methods that reduce and replace the use of animals in crude and ineffective experiments.