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Recent Trends in the Number of Laboratory Animals Used in Japan


Yukihisa Matsuda

Surveys on the numbers of laboratory animals used in Japan have been conducted by both the Japanese Association for Laboratory Animal Science (JALAS) and the Japanese Association for Laboratory Animals in National Universities (JALAN). According to the JALAS, in 1998, 5,626,116 animals were used in experiments. Rodents, such as mice and rats, made up 87% of that total, while the total number of dogs, cats and monkeys used was less than 1%. The JALAS reported that the total number of animals used in experiments in 1990 was 8,737,770, a peak of 10,013,584 was reached in 1995, and thereafter the number gradually decreased to 5,626,116 in 1998. During this period, the number of all the species used, except non-human primates and farm animals, decreased. The number of dogs and cats used decreased by over 65%. This decrease was attributed to the activities of animal welfare groups. On the other hand, the JALAN reported that the total number of animals used in experiments doubled from 1991 to 1999. The increase could be attributed to use of genetically modified mice, such as transgenic and knockout mice. Noting problems with the methods used, we concluded that the number of the laboratory animals used in Japan, other than rodents, has been gradually decreasing since 1991.