Death Toll From Pesticide Testing

Every year, thousands of animals are used in unreliable pesticide tests. PETA scientists are working to replace the use of animals with more reliable and relevant non-animal tests – sparing animals and protecting humans and the environment from pesticides more effectively.

The table below estimates the number of animals commonly used in toxicity tests required by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and similar regulatory agencies around the world. These numbers represent the animals used in tests to bring just one pesticide active ingredient to market. Even more animals are used to test the many final pesticide products that contain active ingredients.

TestsNumber of Animals Used
Acute oral toxicity (rats)4–6
Acute dermal toxicity (rats, rabbits, or guinea pigs)120
Acute inhalation toxicity (rats)20
Eye irritation (rabbits)21–3
Skin irritation (rabbits)1–3
Skin allergy (mice and/or guinea pigs)315–30
28-day dermal study (rats, rabbits, or guinea pigs)80100
90-day oral study (rats)80–100
90-day inhalation study (rats)80–100
90-day oral study (dogs)32–40
Genetic toxicity, micronucleus (rats or mice)50
Genetic toxicity, chromosomal aberration (rats, mice, or hamsters)50
Combined lifetime feeding study and cancer effects (rats)480
Cancer effects (mice)400
Acute nervous system toxicity (rats)80
90-day nervous system toxicity (rats)80
Prenatal developmental toxicity (rats)804
Prenatal developmental toxicity (rabbits)80
Reproductive toxicity in two generations (rats)1,780
Immune system toxicity (rats and/or mice)32
General metabolism (rats)4
Oral toxicity (birds)120
Dietary toxicity (birds)5120
Reproductive toxicity (birds)2,256
Acute toxicity (freshwater fish)98–140
Acute toxicity (freshwater invertebrates – daphnids)140
Acute toxicity (oysters)120–140
Acute toxicity (opossum shrimp)120
Acute toxicity (penaeid shrimp)120–140
Full life-cycle toxicity (freshwater invertebrates – daphnids)60–120
Early life-stage toxicity (freshwater fish)360–420
Acute toxicity (honeybees)175
Total Estimated Number of Animals Used per Pesticide7,140–7,430

The EPA and other regulatory agencies encourage and accept the use of non-animal tests in place of certain animal tests – in some cases, as a result of scientific analyses conducted in collaboration with PETA scientists.


1The US EPA and other agencies have shown that this animal test is not useful. As companies stop conducting it, approximately 750 ratsrabbits, or guinea pigs will be spared per year: https://www.peta.org/blog/victory-epa-reducing-pesticide-tests-on-animals/.
2The US EPA and other agencies may allow the use of non-animal tests that replace the use of animals: https://www.peta.org/blog/peta-scientist-paper-suggests-new-testing-methods-save-rabbits/.
3The US EPA and other agencies may allow use of non-animal tests that replace the use of animals: https://www.peta.org/blog/a-big-win-for-animals-in-laboratories/.
4In addition to the 80 mothers, more than 1,000 foetuses may be killed in each test.
5The US EPA and other agencies have shown that this animal test is not useful. As companies stop conducting it, hundreds of mallards and quail will be spared each year: https://www.peta.org/blog/peta-science-consortium-epa-research-saves-birds-from-pesticide-tests/.

PETA’s Milestones for Animals

PETA's Milestones for
Animals

View Now

Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you are agreeing to our collection, storage, use, and disclosure of your personal info in accordance with our privacy policy as well as to receiving e-mails from us.

 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind