The University of British Columbia is publishing on its Animal Research website information on the total number of animals involved in research during 2010, the major species groupings, and the degree of invasiveness of the research activities.
NB: Helen Burt, UBC’s Associate Vice President Research and International, will be available for interviews upon request. Please contact Lucie McNeill at 604.822.2064 or Randy Schmidt at 604.828.0787.
While the University has always been accountable for this work through a number of scientific, ethical and humane care reviews, UBC is the first university in Canada to provide this degree of detail to the public.
In an e-mail sent to all UBC faculty, staff and students today, Vice President Research and International John Hepburn said this marked a significant step towards greater public transparency, and that “making this information available will help inform the ongoing public dialogue on this sensitive issue.” He encouraged the UBC community to engage in an open and respectful dialogue on the issue.
The information published today reveals 211,604* animals have been involved in 982 research protocols in 2010.
Rodents, fish, reptiles and amphibians account for nearly 97 per cent of the animals. Fewer than two per cent are mammals other than rodents and 1.2 per cent are birds.
Other data made public today indicate 68 per cent of the animals were subjected to procedures that caused only minor or no discomfort. While 31 animals were involved in procedures that are thought to cause severe pain, the animals were given anesthetics. All research entailing pain for the animals must include an approved pain management plan using appropriate analgesics.
The University is committed to full transparency. However, Hepburn stated that UBC will not be releasing “information related to projects that are underway and the results of which have not been published, because doing so could discourage research that benefits society as a whole.” Providing more detailed information could damage the integrity of the research, intellectual property rights, the safety and privacy of researchers and staff, and the security of campus facilities.
UBC Animal Research Website: http://www.animalresearch.ubc.ca
New data released on animal numbers: http://www.animalresearch.ubc.ca/animal-species-2010.html
Vice President Research and International’s message to the UBC community: http://www.animalresearch.ubc.ca/broadcast-message.html
*Total number of animals updated January 2011.