Last week, the annual statistics of scientific procedures on living animals for 2021 were published and the results were disappointing. 3.06 million tests were conducted in 2021- an increase in 6% from 2020… We’re here to fill you in on the good, the bad and the ugly from this latest report.

Bad news first please…

The total number of procedures involving specially protected species has increased over the past decade from 16,000 in 2011 to 18,000 in 2021. Most notably the increase in the number of procedures using horses which have increased 29%.

The total number of tests on monkeys has increased by 17% (2,795 procedures) compared to 2020.

11,758 LD50-type tests were conducted. Animal Aid is currently funding a human cell-based replacement to the archaic LD50 that XCellR8 are developing. This funding directly supports the project which will develop a 100% animal-product free (or vegan), human relevant, and validated laboratory test for acute toxicity. This will have significant potential to completely replace the use of animals and animal products.

In 2021, the use of dogs in procedures decreased by 3% in the last year but have increased by 24% over the last 10 years.

Are there any positives?

It’s true it’s not all bad. Although so much more still needs to be done, here are some of the improvements…

There was a large decrease in the proportion of regulatory procedures, which has decreased from 33% in 2020 to 21% in 2021. This is promising, as more non-animal methods gain regulatory acceptance, there becomes less excuses as to why animal tests are needed to be conducted.

For the first time, no eye irritation tests were conducted in animals.

2021 saw a 21% decrease in skin sensitisation tests on animals.

What needs to be done?

More investment into non-animal methods is needed. It is essential that we ensure non-animal method research is fully resourced, from research to acceptance by regulatory authorities worldwide so that ALL sectors have non-animal options to ensure human safety.

Cruelty-Free International are calling for the appointment of a government minister who would focus on leading and accelerating the transition away from animal experiments and be accountable for progress. The thinking is that this Minister for Animal-Free Science would be able to coordinate work across government to bring about the change that is so vitally needed.

All in all, we must pick up the pace of change to end animal testing. Non-animal methods are both more scientifically and ethically advanced. Kinder for animals, safer for people.

Find out more about our 100% animal-free approach here.