Public Opinion Polls

Do you support ethical animal research?

The results are in!

FBR commissioned three polls in March, April and October 2020 to gage support for the humane use of animals in biomedical research, education and testing in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Fifty-six percent of U.S. adults said medical testing with animals is morally acceptable in Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs poll from May 2020, which is up from 51% in 2019 but down from 66% in 2005. Forty-seven percent of U.S. adults support scientific research with animals, according to 2018 Pew Research Center data, while 52% favored it in 2009. Pew’s data also shows a steady growth in opposition to animal research – from 43% in 2009 to 50% in 2014 and 52% in 2018. FBR polls from 2013 to present echo the Gallup and Pew poll findings. They show support and opposition are split more or less evenly.

Animal research is necessary for understanding the safety and proper dosages of new medicines and treatments. But how many people acknowledge this? Scientists developed therapeutics and vaccines against SARS-Cov-2 at record speed in 2020. Animal models played a signficant role in the process! The race to vaccinate against COVID-19 is on. Remember to thank health care professionals, researchers, veterinarians and animal caretakers for their extraordinary work.

Support for the humane use of animals in biomedical research went up after providing background based on Dr. Fauci’s remarks on animal research and COVID-19. (“There are diseases in which you vaccinate someone, they get infected with what you are trying to protect them with, and you actually enhance the infection. You can get a good feel for that in animal models,” Dr. Fauci said during a White House briefing on March 26, 2020.) In October, 64% of respondents supported the humane use of animals in biomedical research, education and testing in light of his comments on animal models.

It appears public figures have an important role in shaping the public’s perceptions on animal research.

A chemotherapy drug
Photo credit: Foundation for Biomedical Research

Featured photo credit: SolStock/ E+/ Getty Images

 2020 COVID-19 and Animal Research Poll QuestionsMarchAprilOctober
Q1How personally concerned are you about the chances of you or someone in your family becoming infected with the coronavirus?Extremely/ very concerned = 51%

Not very/ not at all concerned = 15%
Extremely/ very concerned = 59%

Not very/ not at all concerned = 13%
Extremely/ very concerned = 49%

Not very/ not at all concerned = 23%
Q2In general, would you say you support or oppose the humane use of animals in biomedical research, education and testing?Strongly/ somewhat support = 50%

Strongly/ somewhat oppose = 34%
Strongly/ somewhat support = 43%

Strongly/ somewhat oppose = 38%
Strongly/ somewhat support = 49%

Strongly/ somewhat oppose = 34%
Q3Would you say you support or oppose the humane use of animals
in biomedical research, education, and testing in cases where that research supports the development of a vaccine and treatments for the coronavirus?
Strongly/ somewhat support = 57%

Strongly/ somewhat oppose = 28%
Strongly/ somewhat support = 54%

Strongly/ somewhat oppose = 30%
Strongly/ somewhat support = 53%

Strongly/ somewhat oppose = 30%
Q4At a recent White House briefing on efforts to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that animal research plays an important role in helping us understand whether or not a coronavirus vaccine will be effective and safe to use.

Having heard this, would you say you support or oppose the humane use of animals in biomedical research, education, and testing in cases where that research supports the development of a vaccine and treatments for the coronavirus?
N/AStrongly/ somewhat support = 60%

Strongly/ somewhat oppose = 21%
Strongly/ somewhat support = 64%

Strongly/ somewhat oppose = 22%

FBR commissioned polls, which Echelon Insights conducted between March 20-24, April 18-21 and Oct. 16-22, 2020. The polls were part of Echelon Insights’ monthly Verified Voter Omnibus tracking surveys and had a sample size of ~1,000 national registered voters. 

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