From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1994:

newly published independent reviews of
available data on laboratory animal use con-
clude that the number of animals used is
generally declining, especially relative to
the number of research projects under-
way––but agree too that USDA reporting
requirements need to be strengthened.
F. Barbara Orlans, Ph.D., of the
Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown
University, argued in the winter 1994 edi-
tion of the University of Chicago journal
Perspectives in Biology and Medicine that
animal use peaked in 1984-1985, fell albeit
with upward fluctuations during the next
five years, and seems to have leveled off
somewhat above the norms of the early
1970s. Orlans noted a drop of nearly half in
dog use since 1975 and downward trends in
the use of cats and primates. “For dogs,”
she wrote, “the range is from a high of
211,000 in 1979 to a low of 108,000 in
1991; for cats, the range is from a high of
74,000 in 1974 to a low of 35,000 in 1991.”

However, Orlans warned, the yearly fluc-
tuations are sharp enough to raise suspicion
that “the statistical standards do not meet

usual government standards.”
The total number of research facili-
ties increased from 985 in 1975 to 1,166 in
1983 and 1,474 in 1991. Orlans noted that
the USDA does not collect data on the pur-
pose of animal experiments; Canadian statis-
tics indicate that 80% of laboratory animal
use is for research, 16% for product testing,
and 4% for teaching. Orlans also criticized
the lack of specificity in the USDA’s classifi-
cations of experiments as painful, painful
with relief, and not painful.
Andrew Rowan, Ph.D, of the Tufts
University Center for Animals and Public
Policy reported at a March 3 press conference
that U.S. use of animals in research is down
more than 50% since 1968. Including rats
and mice, whose numbers have never been
tracked by the USDA, Rowan estimated that
about 50 million animals were used in
research 25 years ago, compared with circa
20 million today. The number of animals
whose species are tracked by the USDA
declined from 2.3 million to 1.2 million over
the same period, Rowan said. The USDA
didn’t actually start recording animal use until
1972, but corresponding statistics were pro-
duced during the 1960s by the Institute for
Laboratory Animal Resources at the National
Academy of Science. Rowan also looked at
Department of Defense records, which do
include mice and rats. In 1983, DoD experi-
ments used 412,000 animals; in 1991 the
total was 267,000. The pharmaceutical firm
Hoffmann-LaRoche achieved an even steeper
drop in animal use, from circa one million a
year to 300,000 a year, during the same inter-
val. Like Orlans, Rowan called on the
USDA to better define the degrees of pain
that lab animals suffer.
The third review, by Palouse Voice
for Animals, covered only animal use at
Washington State University and the
University of Idaho, 1988-1993. It found
fewer animals used at each institution, but
noted that the drop at WSU is “the result of a
decline in the number of small mammals
from field capture used in experimentation,”
while the apparent drop at UI may be because
mouse and rat use wasn’t reported.
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