BUAV – Help the Dogs

The BUAV has uncovered, for the very first time, the dark secret behind the medical research industry – the mass production of man's best friend. Stop them making a killing with dogs' lives.

Introduction & Statistics

Introduction & Statistics – “I despise and abhor the pleas on behalf of that infamous practice, vivisection. I would rather submit to the worst of deaths, so far as pain goes, than have a single dog or cat tortured on the pretence of sparing me a twinge or two.” Robert Browning (1812-1899)

Every year thousands of dogs suffer and die in British laboratories in cruel and pointless experiments.

They have been used to test a large range of substances such as agrochemicals, household products, pharmaceuticals and food additives as well as for studies of the heart and circulation, respiration, muscles, bones and the digestive system.

During short and long term experiments, lasting anything up to one year, these dogs are subjected to the most appalling cruelty in the name of science and commercial interest.

And in most cases, at the end of their brief life confined in the laboratory, many still barely two years old, every dog will be killed.

The following figures, based on Home Office statistics, show the range of procedures these dogs are forced to endure, and the number of dogs killed for experiments over the last 4 years for which we currently have data.

Dog experiments reached their peak in Britain in 1989 at a staggering 12,625 procedures, but the UK still remains Europe’s biggest user of dogs for vivisection and the rate of decrease in their use has slowed down markedly in recent years.

In 1999, despite considerable criticism from anti-vivisection and animal welfare groups, the number of dogs used in research was still shockingly high.

According to Home Office figures a total of 5,933 individual dogs died in 8,185 experiments (some dogs are used in more than one experiment.)

However, the BUAV estimates the true figure to be considerably higher.

The government does not currently collate statistics on dogs (or other animals) killed for their blood and organs, or those killed because they are inappropriate ‘non conforming products’ or ‘surplus to requirements’.

The annual statistics also only reflect the number of new projects starting within that time period, and the number of dogs they involve.

They do not include work already in progress, for example if an experiment involving a group of 20 dogs began in 1997 but continued into 1998, those 20 dogs would not be included in the statistics for 1998.

The BUAV is urging the government to collect and publish proper statistics, so that the true number of dogs dying for vivisection will at last be known.

World-wide the death toll is even more shocking.

Most countries around the world do not collate proper records of how many animals are experimented on each year and so the statistics we do have are incomplete.

In Japan 73,000 dogs were used in 1990 and in the United States a staggering 82,000 were used in experiments in 1996, and 76,071 in 1998.


Dog use in EU Member States 1996 (and 1997)
Country: 1996Number of dogsTotal no. of animals
France (1997)4,2902,609,322
The Netherlands1,243652,300
Source: CL Broadhead, M Jennings & RD Combes: The Critical Evaluation of the Use of Dogs in the Regulatory Toxicity Testing of Pharmaceuticals, 1999. Publ. FRAME.
Type of procedures using dogs in UK 1998Number of procedures using dogs in UK 1998
Total procedures on dogs6,828
drug safety procedures3,775
other medical & dental research2,071
chemical & other safety tests500
biological research (fundamental & applied)422
veterinary research264
breeding dogs with harmful genetic defects10
Type of toxicity test on dogs in UK 1998Number of toxicity tests on dogs in UK 1998
Drug testing3,188 (3,045 dogs)
Agrochemicals267 (265 dogs)
Substances used in industry26 (13 dogs)
Quality control24 (9 dogs)
ADME & residue
(drug absorption, distribution through the body, metabolism & excretion)
563 (353 dogs)
Medical device safety16 (15 dogs)
Method development11 (11 dogs)
Other purposes180 (180 dogs)
Total toxicity tests4275 (3,891 dogs)
Type of toxicity test on dogsNumber of dogs used 1998Number of dogs used 1997Number of dogs used 1996Number of dogs used 1995
Drug testing3,0453,7054,0703,171
Substances used in industry1314119
ADME & residue
(drug absorption, distribution through the body, metabolism & excretion)
Medical device safety15200
Method development1111200
Other purposes180666540
Quality control92200
Efficacy testing01200
Toxicology research0200
Household products008432
Food additives00127
Total toxicity tests3,8913,9255,3804,230

Tanya Allen

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