For the fourth consecutive year, UBC has published extensive information on the animals involved in research at the university, including statistics categorized by major species groups and by the purpose of the research.
UBC remains the only Canadian university to publish its animal research statistics annually. The data were collected for its annual report to the Canadian Council for Animal Care (CCAC). CCAC is a national organization that oversees ethical use of animals in science.
Following its 2013 inspection visit to UBC’s animal research facilities, CCAC awarded the university a Certificate of Good Animal Practice. It recognizes the quality of UBC’s animal care and use program.
CCAC’s 2013 assessment also commended UBC for the transparency of the animal research program.
“One of the highlights of UBC’s work has been its initiative to openly and clearly explain its use and care of animals to the public in many different ways – website, public forums, articles, etc. The CCAC appreciates UBC’s innovative work to demystify the care and use of animals in science, which is very helpful to the entire community,” the CCAC report said.
“We are pleased that the Canadian Council for Animal Care has issued UBC a certificate of compliance in animal care and health,” said Helen Burt, UBC associate vice president, research. “UBC’s care facilities and research projects meet and exceed the highest standards for the safe, ethical treatment of animals. We continue to make that our priority.”
In addition to the 2013 statistics, UBC provides a virtual tour of its animal care facilities through an online resource.
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 reviewed by ethics committees made up of research experts, licensed veterinarians and community representatives.
For more information on UBC’s 2013 animal research statistics, visit www.animalresearch.ubc.ca.
Helen Burt, UBC’s Associate Vice President Research, is available for interviews upon request. Please contact Brian Murphy at 604.822.2048.
BACKGROUND | UBC 2013 ANIMAL RESEARCH STATS
Animals involved in UBC research in 2013
In 2013, 216,450 animals were involved in 911 research and teaching protocols. That’s down by 4.8 per cent from the totals in 2012 (227,362 animals in 961 protocols).
The use of animals in most species groups decreased from 2012 with the exceptions of large mammals and the dual category reptiles/amphibians. Studies of reptiles and amphibians included production of transgenic photoreceptors with the goal of better understanding the causes of blindness in humans.
Large-mammal numbers were up in 2013 because of animal welfare studies involving horses and goats.
Approximately 1,017 dairy goats were part of a largely observation study to improve health outcomes in females transitioning from regular commercial milk production through a period of rest before giving birth.
Horses were observed to see if they best managed the stress and pain of castration surgery (UBC’s role was observation only) when allowed companionship in a herd versus the common practice of isolating the animal post-surgery.
Changes in the Purpose of Use categories in Medical/Veterinary and Regulatory Testing were minor. Basic Research use by a percentage of all research animals fell by 2.46 per cent in 2013. Animal use in Breeding programs rose by 3.07 per cent.
More than 97 per cent of animals involved in UBC research were rodents, fish and amphibians. Close to 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, tagging and tracking of wild animals.
In Category B (little or no discomfort) there was a slight rise in 2013 of 1.64 per cent.
For more information, visit the UBC animal research website: www.animalresearch.ubc.ca.