Method/Source: Using estimates compiled by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the established baseline is 7.6% of experiments involving pain, but conducted with no anesthesia/analgesia (2007). The score calculates the reduction based on the difference between the baseline figure and the current figure for the percentage of experiments involving pain conducted without anesthesia/analgesia, calculated, as a proportion of the baseline figure.
Proportion of experiments that involve pain without providing anesthesia/analgesia
Discussion: Experiments and product testing that involve subjecting animals to pain without anesthesia/analgesia for relief represents one of the worst situations for animals used in research. It is an overarching animal protection goal to bring an end to all animal experimentation; until that occurs, however, it is important that animals subjected to painful experiments be provided some measure of relief. The goal for this indicator is that no animals that are used in experiments that cause pain are denied relief for that pain.
This is measured using the numbers of animals used in research, pain levels, and administration of analgesic as recorded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As noted previously, the USDA only tracks a minority of animals used in research. Moreover, the use of pain relief in the form of anesthesia or analgesia is self-reported by animal researchers, which can lead to unintentional or intentional misreporting. Again, it is reasonable to expect that these numbers are actually much higher given that there are fewer regulations for the treatment of animals not covered under the AWA.
In 2007, 7.6% of animals (77,766 individuals) who were covered by the AWA were subjected to painful experiments with no pain relief. In 2009, the most recent year for which data was available at the inception of the Humane Trends study, the number increased by .2% and has continued to increase. In 2010, the most recent year for which data is available, 8.6% of AWA animals used in experiments were subjected to pain, but provided no anesthesia/analgesia; this is an increase of 1% representing over 19,350 lives.
Last updated in December 2012.