UBC’s summary of animals involved in research at the university in 2016 is now available.
This is the seventh consecutive year the university has published the data. UBC is one of only three Canadian universities to publish animal research statistics annually. The university publishes the data as part of its overall commitment to openness and transparency.
The data was collected for UBC’s annual report to the Canadian Council on 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 recognizing the quality of animal care and research at UBC in 2016. That assessment also commended UBC for the transparency of our animal research program.
“Research involving animals at UBC is helping us to understand and come closer to treatments for devastating diseases and medical conditions that afflict millions of Canadians. The work is also crucial in improving animal health and understanding animal behaviours,” said Gail Murphy, UBC vice president, research and innovation. “Our students, staff and faculty are committed to developing research methods that reduce, refine and replace the use of animals wherever possible.”
Procedures must be reviewed and approved by the university’s Animal Care Committee, which is made up of research experts, licensed veterinarians and community representatives.
Background: UBC 2016 animal research statistics
Animals involved in UBC research in 2016
In 2016, 167,019 animals were involved in 486 research and teaching protocols at UBC. That’s a decrease of 10 per cent since 2015 when 185,692 animals were involved in 517 research and teaching protocols.
More than 92 per cent of animals involved in UBC research were rodents, reptiles and amphibians.
The number of animals in most species groups decreased from 2015 with the exceptions of rodents, birds and large mammals.
The number of large mammals involved in research increased to 10,385 in 2016 compared with 2,956 in 2015. The vast majority of large mammals involved in research last year were 10,000 cows under non-invasive observation in protocols aimed at improving the health of dairy herds.
The majority (60 per cent) of animals in research at UBC remains rodents, but that number also fell to 100,888 in 2016 (the second lowest total since reporting began), from 113,894 in 2014 as researchers continue to shift to animals at a lower evolutionary level, such as fish.
The number of animals in research involving breeding was 3,192 in 2016, compared with 493 in 2015. Under the category of breeding, we are now more accurately recording only those animals where breeding is the research project.
More than 53 per cent of the animals (89,449) 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 decrease of 4.3 per cent in the number of animals in 2016 compared with 2015.