NEAVS erred on lab animal use

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1994:

BOSTON, Massachusetts–
Math errors were behind the New England
Anti-Vivisection Society’s recent public esti-
mate that U.S. laboratory use of animals rose
30% over the five years 1988-1992.
According to NEAVS spokesper-
son Melinda Duval, the estimate, published
in the NEAVS newsletter, was produced by
an individual who no longer works for
NEAVS, who made a “recording error.”
Since 1990 the USDA has required
researchers to report the use of livestock as
well as primates, cats, dogs, hamsters,
rabbits, and guinea pigs, whose use had
already been tallied annually. The new
requirement brought a 30% increase in the
number of animals whose use was tabulated,
but not in an increase in actual use.

Failing to account for this, the
NEAVS estimator multiplied known animal
use during each of the years 1988-1992 by
10 to approximate the ratio of rats, mice,
and birds used relative to other species;
reporting rats, mice, and birds is still not
mandatory, and most laboratories still don’t
do it. However, the multiplier should have
been adjusted down after 1990 to reflect the
shift of livestock use from the “unknown” to
the “known” category of species.
The NEAVS estimate that
21,341,820 animals were used in 1992 is
only 10% higher than the total estimated ear-
lier this year in a comprehensive analysis by
Andrew Rowan of the Tufts University
Center for Animals and Public Policy––but
Rowan, adjusting his multipliers to reflect
the amended reporting requirements, esti-
mated that total animal use has fallen nearly
60% in 25 years, with no significant rises in
the use of any species. A similar review of
the available data by F. Barbara Orlans of
the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at
Georgetown University also shows a net
decline in animal use.
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