How do Americans feel about medical testing on animals? A Gallup poll that has been tracking responses to this question since 2001 revealed last week that 51% of Americans view medical testing on animals as “morally acceptable.”
This number is down dramatically from 2001, when 65% of respondents held that belief. And, importantly, this number represents a slight decrease in support for animal testing since 2018. Last year, 54% of Americans found medical testing on animals to be morally acceptable. The latest statistics mirror the results of 2017, the year which showed the lowest level of support on record for the practice since Gallup began polling on the issue.
Accordingly, the percentage of individuals who view medical testing on animals as “morally wrong” increased, from 26% in 2001 to 44% in 2019. Last year, 43% of Americans held this view.
This slight shift in opinion on animal use was mirrored in other questions pertaining to animal-related issues, including animal cloning. Last year, 40% of Americans felt that animal cloning was morally acceptable. That number has fallen to 31% this year.
And it’s not just in the U.S. that we’re seeing positive movement in public opinion.
A poll conducted in the UK, and published last month, on public attitudes to animal research revealed that “The proportion of the public who agree that the use of animals for medical research is important to human health has fallen significantly, from close to half in 2016 (46%) to four in ten this year (41%).” The poll also revealed that “Interest in finding out more about work to find alternatives and improve the welfare of animals in research is high and has risen.”
This is not only great news for animals, but validation that our efforts to replace cruel, costly and flawed animal experiments with humane, innovative methods of research are working.
However, although we are encouraged by this shift in public perception on animal-related issues, we cannot become complacent. Yes, public opinion is once again shifting slightly in favor of the animals, but we can see that over the long-term, progress appears to be slowing down, and even leveling out a bit.
Ironically, one reason for this slowdown could be the extraordinary progress we in the animal protection community have made in calling out the cruelty and inefficacy of animal experiments. We’re doing a great job in making our case—and the “other side” can see that. So, they’re responding—fighting back and pushing back harder than ever and supported by a multi-billion dollar animal research industry that has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. As we achieve victories for animals, we must also ensure that we do not become complacent.
Although the animals used in medical research do not have a voice, we do! Please visit the NAVS’ Advocacy Center where you can continue to be the voice for the voiceless and ensure that we continue the momentum to end animal experimentation.
And please consider making a donation to NAVS today so that we can continue our vital work to end the exploitation of animals used in science.