Attitudes to animal research in 2016

This Ipsos MORI report presents the findings of a 2016 survey commissioned by the Office for Life Sciences to understand current public awareness of, and attitudes towards, the use of animals in research.

Attitudes to animal research in 2016

This report presents the findings of a 2016 survey on current public awareness of, and attitudes towards, the use of animals in research. The survey also examines attitudes towards, and trust in, the regulatory system and the people who work with animals in research.

This is the second wave of a tracker survey, first carried out in 2014 by Ipsos MORI. The survey is based on a long-term survey that ran between 1999 and 2014, but as the questions have changed, direct comparisons between pre-2014 data and this year’s results are not possible

On many measures, public opinion on this topic is unchanged between 2016 and 2014.

Key research findings include:

  • A majority of the public do not feel well-informed about the use of animals in research in the UK – only one third (34%) say they feel either very or fairly well informed, a similar finding to 2014 when 30% felt well informed.
  • Two thirds (65%) say they can accept the use of animals in research as long as it is for medical purposes, and there is no alternative. Public acceptance has remained at the same level since 2014, when 68% said the same thing.
  • Many people continue to believe that cosmetics testing on animals is allowed in the UK (35% - up from 31% in 2014) although testing cosmetic products and their ingredients on animals was banned in the UK in 1998 and across the EU in 2013.

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Technical note: A sample of 987 adults aged 15+ from across Great Britain was interviewed face-to-face and in-home between 4th March and 4th April 2016. Ipsos MORI's Capibus vehicle was used for this survey. Data has been weighted to reflect the population profile of Great Britain.

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