Understanding Animal Research

Safety testing of non-medical products

Laboratory ratsThe wide range of chemicals which are in everyday use - such as medicines or household products - as well as chemicals used in manufacturing, or fertilisers and pesticides used in farming, must be tested to make sure that they are as safe as possible for animals and people. Safety testing makes up a very small proportion of animal research and is done to guard against products which could cause damage like cancer or birth defects. This is essential for the health of people, animals and the environment. As well as protecting the consumer, workers involved in production and those that come into contact with chemicals during transport must be protected.



Safety testing can be broken down further, based on 2010 figures, as follows:

  • Environment: 8,422 or 14%
  • Agriculture: 16,977 or 28%
  • Industry: 27,104 or 44%
  • Household: 24 or 0.04%
  • Foods/food additives: 8,803 or 14%
  • Cosmetics/toiletries ingredients: none after 1998

TOTAL: 61,130 or 2% of total animal use in research


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Last edited: 2 May 2012 14:00