There are no available statistics on the use of birds for research in the U.S., as birds bred for research are currently excluded from coverage by the Animal Welfare Act. In the UK, however, birds are the third most commonly used animals after rodents and fish, with over 100,000 used each year (four percent of all animals used). More than 650,000 birds are used across the entire European Union annually. In the UK, the vast majority of birds used in research and testing are domestic fowl.

The largest single category of procedures in which birds are used in the European Union is fundamental research, aimed at discovering how animals function. Such research often involves surgery, trapping birds from the wild, and/or prolonged confinement in order to study phenomena such as migration and bird song.

Overall, however, most birds are used in the research and development, production, quality control, or safety testing of human and veterinary medical products, often in studies related to animal diseases. Much of the toxicity and safety testing involves lethal tests such as the LD50, or acute or subacute tests that involve high exposure to the test substance, causing significant suffering and distress.

Birds are further stressed as a result of the poor housing conditions in which they are maintained, which are too small and/or crowded for the birds to stretch their wings or perform a range of natural behaviors.

Read More about Birds Used in Research

“What’s All the Squawking About? Bird use in research and testing,” AV Magazine Spring 2006.
From biomedical research to testing to husbandry studies, birds are used extensively in experimentation.