Significantly fewer Americans say animal research is morally wrong – only 1 in 5 Americans polled cite concerns

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May 26, 2021

Contact: Eva Maciejewski
Phone: 202.967.8305

WASHINGTON – A 2021 moral acceptability poll commissioned by the Foundation for Biomedical Research and conducted by Echelon Insights is completely at odds with Gallup’s annual moral acceptability poll data.

Both polls find that roughly half of Americans believe animal research is morally acceptable. However, the foundation’s poll shows that only 18% of Americans believe medical research with animals is morally wrong compared to 39% of Americans in Gallup’s 2020 poll.

Echelon Insights conducted the foundation’s poll between March 15-21 with a sample size of 1,008 registered voters. The questions were structurally similar in both polls. But unlike Gallup, FBR provided respondents with more context about the role of animals in medical research.

“We added contextual information such as the benefits of animal research for both humans and animals, whether there is no other effective way to do the research, and the fact that non-animal methods are not sophisticated enough to fully replace animal models,” FBR President Matthew R. Bailey said.

Only 5% of respondents in Gallup’s 2020 moral acceptability poll say they are undecided about the issue. In contrast, more than a third (34%) of respondents in the foundation’s poll say they are undecided. This suggests fewer Americans believe animal research is morally wrong than previously reported, which could mean Americans are less certain about their opposition when presented with the facts.

Another explanation for these disparities could be the significant increase in mainstream news reporting on the role of animals in the development of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.

“If you want a thoughtful response, ask a thought-provoking question,” said Bailey.

Visit to see the complete poll findings.


About FBR public opinion polling:
FBR regularly monitors public opinion and gauges public perceptions about animal research to optimize its public education campaigns and programs. See FBR’s polling data from 2013 to 2021 at

About FBR:
The Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) is America’s most experienced, trusted and effective nonprofit dedicated to improving human and animal health by promoting public understanding and support for biomedical research. Together with the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR), FBR illuminates the essential role animal testing and research plays in changing health outcomes and defeating illnesses affecting both people and animals. FBR was established in 1981 and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. Learn more by visiting

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