Animal Research: An Environmental Perspective
An Environmental Article from

From Rebekah Corbett,
September 2019

Non-animal research also promises faster delivery of test results with greater applicability to humans. The research industry, government agencies and other stakeholders must give proper weight to the environmental impacts of animal research when making decisions and considering alternatives to animal research.

A review of evidence uncovers significant — and often overlooked — negative environmental impacts of animal research.

Globally, up to 126.9 million non-human vertebrate animals are bred, used, and disposed of in the drug, medical, chemical, cosmetic, and household product industries. As in the farmed animal industry, this mass use of animals as resources raises serious environmental impact concerns.

Companies in the U.S – the country that uses the most animals in research and testing in the world – are not required to report the total number of research animals used to the USDA. This makes environmental analysis difficult, but it is still clear that a huge number of animals are used and disposed of in the research industry. The few specific studies on the environmental impact of animal research indicate that the use and disposal of animals contributes to pollution, as well as harming biodiversity and public health.

The researchers of this study set out to examine existing evidence of the environmental impact of animal research, paying particular attention to:

Resources used in:

  • animal research
  • waste production in laboratories
  • sources of pollution
  • impacts on laboratory workers’ health
  • biodiversity impacts

READ MORE at Animal Research: An Environmental Perspective

Rebekah is a PhD student researching the law and ethics of smart city technology. During her Master's in philosophy and public affairs, she completed a research project examining utilitarian justifications for the use of animals in science. Rebekah lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland, with her companion animal, Eugene, who is a happy and healthy FIV+ cat.

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