Media Release | Dec. 14, 2012

UBC releases 2011 statistics of animals involved in research

For the second year, the University of British Columbia has published the total number of animals involved in research, their major species groupings, as well as their purpose of use and the degree of invasiveness of the research activities.

UBC is the only Canadian university to publish its animal research statistics annually, based on its reporting to the Canadian Council for Animal Care (CCAC), the national body which oversees ethical use of animals in science and publishes national statistics.

UBC first published 2010 animal research statistics last October. In August 2012, it was also the first university in Canada to release a detailed assessment report by the CCAC.

“Research involving animals has advanced fundamental knowledge of the world we live in and contributed to medical advances that benefit humans and animals alike,” says Helen Burt, UBC Associate Vice President Research and International. “The release of 2011 animal research statistics is in keeping with our commitment to responsible transparency and respectful dialogue on animal research.”

UBC complies with national standards of animal care. In its 2010 assessment of UBC animal care facilities, the CCAC commended UBC for its $100 million investment in improving facilities. UBC is committed to humane care and developing research methods that reduce, refine and replace the use of animals wherever possible. All proposed research projects involving animals are closely reviewed by ethics committees comprising research experts, licensed veterinarians and community representatives.

For more information on UBC’s 2011 animal research statistics, visit

NB: Helen Burt, UBC’s Associate Vice President Research and International, is available for interviews upon request. Please contact Randy Schmidt at 604.822.1266 or Brian Lin at 604.822.2234. Animal research-related photographs are available at


Animals involved in UBC research in 2011

In 2011, 225,043 animals were involved in 983 research protocols (up from 211,604 in 2010, largely due an increase in new strains of transgenic rodents bred for medical research.) Excluding the 15,000 rats and mice bred for research, the use of animals in research at UBC has decreased overall.

Use of animals in basic research, medical and veterinarian research decreased in 2011 while use for regulatory testing remained the same. Use of animals for educational purposed dropped by 25 per cent, in line with the University’s efforts to reduce, replace and refine use of animals in research and education.

At nearly 97 per cent, rodents, fish and amphibians continue to make up the majority of animals involved in research. Just over two per cent are birds involved in wildlife, observational and food production studies. Mammals and marine mammals make up 1.5 per cent of the total.

Nearly 63 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 animals tagged for observation in the wild. There were small increases in animals involved in category D (moderate to severe stress) and category E (surgical procedures) studies. All animals were given anesthesia during surgery and received daily veterinarian care during recovery. All such research must also include an approved pain management plan.

For more information, visit the UBC animal research website:


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Randy Schmidt
UBC Public Affairs
Tel: 604.822.1266
Cell: 604.828.0787

Brian Lin
UBC Public Affairs
Tel: 604.822.2234
Cell: 604.818.5685

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