For the sixth consecutive year, UBC has published data on animals involved in research at the university.
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 its animal research program.
“All of research involving animals at UBC is aimed at improving human and animal health,” said Helen Burt, UBC vice president, research, pro tem. “Our students, staff and faculty are committed to developing research methods that reduce, refine and replace the use of animals wherever possible.”
When replacement with non-animal models or animals on a lower evolutionary level is not possible, UBC strongly encourages a reduction in the numbers of animals used, through careful design of experiments and continual refinement as new research technologies arise.
Procedures must be reviewed and approved by the university’s Animal Care Committee, with public and academic membership. 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 2015 animal research statistics and the virtual tour, visit www.animalresearch.ubc.ca
BACKGROUND | UBC 2015 ANIMAL RESEARCH STATS
Animals involved in UBC research in 2015
In 2015, 185,692 animals were involved in 517 research and teaching protocols. That’s up two per cent from the total in 2014 (182,115 animals in 869 protocols). More than 96 per cent of animals involved in UBC research were rodents, fish and amphibians.
The number of animals in most species groups decreased from 2014 with the exceptions of fish, birds and large mammals.
Large-mammal numbers in research increased to 2,956 in 2015, compared with 1,138 in 2014. However the majority of those large animals, 92.5 per cent, were part of observational, non-invasive studies.
The majority (54 per cent) of animals in research at UBC remains rodents, but that number also fell to 99,597 in 2015, from 113,894 in 2014 as researchers continue to shift to animals at a lower evolutionary level, such as fish.
As a percentage of all research, animals involved in basic research increased by 1.8 per cent in 2015. The number of animals in research involving breeding was 493 in 2015, compared to 20,783 in 2014. Under the category of breeding, UBC now more accurately counts those animals where breeding is the research project. Many of the animals previously recorded here are now distributed across other categories such as basic research.
More than 56 per cent of the animals (104,612) 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 2015 of two per cent, proportional with the overall rise in all animals in research.