For the fifth consecutive year, UBC has published data on the animals involved in research at the university, including statistics categorized by major species groups and by the purpose of the research.
UBC is one of only two universities in Canada that publishes its animal research statistics annually. The data was collected for UBC’s annual report to the Canadian Council for Animal Care (CCAC), a national organization that oversees the ethical use of animals in science.
The CCAC awarded UBC a Certificate of Good Animal Practice in 2013 recognizing the quality of animal care and research at UBC. That assessment also commended UBC for the transparency of our animal research program.
“Faculty and staff who work with animals have the responsibility to ensure they are treated with dignity and respect,” said Helen Burt, UBC Associate Vice President, Research and International. “We have numerous safeguards in place to ensure responsible protocols including peer review of the scientific justification for research involving animals and reviews by veterinarians trained in laboratory animal medicine.”
Procedures must be reviewed and approved by the University’s Animal Care Committee, with public and academic membership.
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.
When replacement with non-animal resources is not possible, we strongly encourage reduction in numbers of animals used through careful design of experiments and continual refinement as new research technologies arise.
All animal research proposals are reviewed by ethics committees made up of research experts, licensed veterinarians and community representatives.
In addition to the sharing statistics, UBC provides a virtual tour of its animal care facilities. For information on UBC’s 2014 animal research statistics and the virtual tour, visit www.animalresearch.ubc.ca.
BACKGROUND | UBC 2014 ANIMAL RESEARCH STATS
Animals involved in UBC research in 2014
In 2014, 182,115 animals were involved in 869 research and teaching protocols. That’s down nearly 16 per cent from the total in 2013 (216,450 animals in 911 protocols). More than 97 per cent of animals involved in UBC research were rodents, fish and amphibians.
The use of animals in most species groups decreased from 2013 with the exceptions of marine mammals and the dual category reptiles/amphibians. These studies of reptiles and amphibians included blood sampling for genetics testing to understand how best to protect endangered Galapagos Islands turtles.
Large-mammal numbers in research declined significantly to 1,138 in 2014, compared to 1,778 in 2013.
The majority (62.5%) of animals in research at UBC remains rodents, but that number also fell to 113,894, from 126,290 in 2013.
The majority of animals (57%, or 104,199) were used in basic research across multiple disciplines including biology, psychology, physiology and biochemistry.
Basic research use as a percentage of all research animals fell by 17 per cent in 2014. The number of animals used in breeding declined to 20,783 from 36,728 in 2013.
More than 56 per cent 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 behaviors, blood sampling, tagging and tracking of wild animals.
In Category D (moderate to severe distress) there was a slight rise in 2014 of 3.8 per cent. The increase is due to UBC implementing more stringent reporting practices.