For the third consecutive year, UBC has published extensive information on the animals involved in research at the university, including numbers by major species groups and by type of research conducted.
UBC remains the only Canadian university to publish its animal research statistics annually. The data were collected as part of the university’s reporting to the Canadian Council for Animal Care (CCAC), the national body that oversees ethical use of animals in science and publishes national statistics.
“Research involving animals is a cornerstone of basic scientific discoveries and medical advances that improve both human and animal health,” says Helen Burt, UBC Associate Vice President Research and International. “The numbers are part of our research story and demonstrate our commitment to accountability.”
In addition to the 2012 statistics, UBC is providing for the first time a virtual tour of its animal care facilities through an online resource. In its 2010 assessment of UBC’s animal research program, released last year, the CCAC commended UBC for its $100-million investment in improving facilities, many of which provide housing and enrichment for research animals beyond CCAC requirements.
“For the health and safety of animals and staff, and to safeguard the integrity of research projects, only trained personnel are given access to animal research facilities,” says Burt. “These 360-degree virtual tours not only show our facilities but also describe how veterinarians and staff care for the animals.”
UBC complies with national standards of animal care and is committed to developing research methods that reduce, refine and replace the use of animals wherever possible. All animal research proposals are closely reviewed by ethics committees comprising research experts, licensed veterinarians and community representatives.
For more information on UBC’s 2012 animal research statistics, visit www.animalresearch.ubc.ca. Helen Burt, UBC’s Associate Vice President Research and International, is available for interviews upon request. Please contact Brian Lin at 604.822.2234.
BACKGROUND | UBC 2012 ANIMAL RESEARCH STATS
Animals involved in UBC research in 2012
In 2012, 227,362 animals were involved in 961 research and teaching protocols. Despite the small increase in total numbers from 2011 (up 2,319 animals, or one per cent), the use of animals in most species groups decreased, with the exception of fish (due to a large, biennial study involving the survey of 11,000 fish in the wild) and large mammals (due to several animal welfare studies involving a large herd of dairy cows).
Use of animals in basic research increased significantly, while use in medical and veterinarian research and regulatory testing decreased. The level of use of animals for educational purposes remains unchanged.
“More than 98 per cent of animals involved in UBC research were rodents, fish and amphibians. More than two-thirds of the animals were involved in procedures that cause less than minor or short-term stress (CCAC Categories of Invasiveness B and C). These include observations of animal behaviours, blood sampling and tagging and tracking of wild animals.
There was a four-per-cent drop in animals involved in Category D (moderate to severe stress) research. Meanwhile, a new investigation into fetal alcohol syndrome involving rodents represented a small increase of 26 animals in Category E studies. All animals were given anesthesia during surgical procedures, under veterinary oversight. All such research must also include an approved pain management plan.
For more information, visit the UBC animal research website: www.animalresearch.ubc.ca.