Understanding Animal Research

Types of animals

caged rats   Laboratory dogs   Black mice   Laboratory guinea pigs

British law protects vertebrate animals such as mammals, fish and birds and these are the animals which are counted by government every year. Most research animals are rodents, followed by fish and birds. Dogs, cats and monkeys together represent two in every 1000 animals used in UK research.

Invertebrate animals such as fruit flies and worms are used in large numbers in research but are not protected by the law or counted.

Numbers relate to procedures on animals in Great Britain in 2012:

  • Rats, mice and other rodents, all purpose-bred laboratory species 82%
  • Fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds 16.2%
  • Sheep, cows, pigs and other large mammals 1.5%
  • Small mammals, excluding rodents, mostly rabbits and ferrets 0.3%
  • Dogs and cats, all bred for research, no strays or unwanted pets can be used 0.12%
  • Primates, mainly marmoset and macaque monkeys 0.07%
Types of animals 2010

Chimpanzees, orang-utans and gorillas have not been used in the UK for over 20 years and their use is now banned.


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Last edited: 30 July 2013 16:09