UBC Animal Numbers

In 2022, a total of 157,767 animals were involved in 475 research and teaching protocols at UBC.

The total, a 21 per cent increase compared to 2021, is consistent with figures seen before the pandemic.

By animal type

Rodents account for 49 per cent of the total number of all animals involved in research at UBC last year, and 98 per cent of the mammals. Small mammals, large mammals and marine mammals collectively represented under one per cent of the total. The number of large mammals involved in research decreased from 1,385 in 2021 to 796 in 2022. Other animals involved in research were fish (35 per cent), birds (2 per cent), and reptiles and amphibians (14 per cent). 

Animal TypeNumberPercentage
Small Mammals4530.3%
Large Mammals7960.5%
Marine Mammals240.02%
pie chart of preceding table 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.

52 per cent of animals involved in research at UBC in 2022 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, the proportion of animals involved in 2022 remained consistent at 48 per cent. 

No animals were involved in a category E study.            

CategoryNumber Percentage
pie chart of preceding table by category

By purpose

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 2,941 in 2022, compared to 2,422 in 2021.

Purpose 1: Basic Research
63 per cent per cent of animals were part of UBC’s inquiries in scientific disciplines that include biology, psychology, physiology and biochemistry. The number of animals involved in Basic Research increased by 25 per cent compared to 2021 (99,132 in 2022, compared to 79,483 in 2021).

Purpose 2: Medical and Veterinary Research
This involvement of animals provides treatments for diseases that improve health care outcomes for both humans and animals. In 2022 there was a 13 per cent increase in the number of animals involved in this category, compared to 2021. (49,142 in 2022, compared to 43,308 in 2021.)

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 involved in regulatory testing. In 2022, less than 3 per cent of animals were involved in this area at UBC.

Purpose 5: Educational Purposes
Educational involvement of research animals includes several fields of study at UBC. The involvement of animals in teaching at UBC must be approved by individual faculties and the University Senate. Where possible, vertebrate animals are replaced by invertebrates. Less than 2 per cent of animals involved in UBC research were for educational purposes in 2022.

pie chart of preceding table by purpose

First Nations land acknowledegement

UBC VPRI acknowledges that the UBC Point Grey campus is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm.

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