UBC Animal Numbers

In 2019, a total of 151,239 animals were involved in 642 research and teaching protocols at UBC.

Rodents account for 56 per cent of the total number of all animals involved in research at UBC last year, and 95 per cent of the mammals. Small mammals, large mammals and marine mammals collectively represented three per cent of the total.

Other animals involved in research were fish (22 per cent) birds (1 per cent) and reptiles and amphibians (18 per cent).

By animal type

Animal Type Number Percentage
Rodents 85,263 56%
Fish 33,260 22%
Reptiles/Amphibians 27,236 18%
Birds 1,181 1%
Small Mammals 3,063 2%
Large Mammals 1,194 1%
Marine Mammals 42 0.03%
Total 151,239  


2019 Animals by Type

How were the animals involved in research?

The Canadian Council on Animal Care divides animal research into five Categories of Invasiveness (A to E). Category A includes most experiments involving tissue cultures, eggs and single-cell organisms and does not require annual reporting.

More than  45 per cent of animals involved in research at UBC in 2019 fall under categories B or C. The invasiveness ranges from little discomfort and stress to minor stress and pain. For a wide range of animals this could include observation in the wild, brief periods of restraint for tagging, taking blood samples and minor surgical biopsies under anesthesia.

In Category D studies, rated for moderate to severe distress or discomfort, there was a 13 per cent decrease from 2018.

No animals were involved in category E studies representing severe pain, at, or above the pain tolerance of unanesthetized conscious animals.

Category Number  Percentage
B 24,743 16%
C 44,037 29%
D 82,459 55%
E 0 0%
Total 151,239  


2019 by invasiveness

By purpose of use

The Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) divides the purposes for which we involve animals into six categories.

Purpose 0: Breeding - The number of animals in research involving breeding was 5,041 in 2019 compared to 7,508 in 2018.

Purpose 1: Basic Research - 59 per cent per cent of animals were part of UBC’s inquiries in science disciplines that include biology, psychology, physiology and biochemistry. The number of Basic Research animals decreased by 9 per cent to 88,713 compared to 97,306 in 2018.

Purpose 2: Medical and Veterinary Research - This use of animals provides treatments for diseases that improve health care outcomes for both humans and animals. In 2019 there was an 11 per cent decrease in the number of animals used in this category compared to 2018. (52,169 in 2019, compared to 58,678 in 2018).

Purposes 3 and 4: Regulatory Testing - Canadian law dictates that animals be research models before humans in regulatory trials for drugs and general medical products. That requirement includes vaccines and medical hardware such as stents and heart valves. UBC makes every effort to minimize the number animals used for regulatory testing. In 2019, two per cent of animals were involved in this area at UBC.

Purpose 5: Educational Purposes - Educational use of research animals includes several fields of study at UBC. All animal use in teaching at UBC must be approved by individual faculties and the University Senate. Where possible, vertebrate animals are replaced by invertebrates. Approximately two per cent of animals involved in UBC research were used for educational purposes in 2019.

Purpose Of Use Number Percentage
0 5,041 3%
1 88,173 59%
2 52,169 34%
3,4 2,673 2%
5 2,643 2%
Total 151,239  


2019 by purpose of use