UBC Animal Numbers

In 2018, a total of 169,273 animals were involved in 675 research and teaching protocols at UBC.

Rodents account for 57 per cent of the total number of all animals involved in research at UBC last year, and 96 per cent of the mammals. Other small mammals, large mammals and marine mammals collectively represented two per cent of the total .

Other animals involved in research were fish (21 per cent) birds (2 per cent) and reptiles and amphibians (18 per cent).

All 2018 data

By animal type

Animal Type Number Percentage
Rodents 96,499 57.0%
Fish 35,634 21.1%
Reptiles/Amphibians 30,457 18.0%
Birds 3,272 1.9%
Small Mammals 1,692 1.0%
Large Mammals 1,553 0.9%
Marine Mammals 166 0.1%
Total 169,273  


2018 - 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 43 per cent of animals involved in research at UBC in 2018 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 21 per cent increase from 2017, in large part due to protocols involving salmon.

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 28,300 16.7%
C 45,750 27.0%
D 95,223 56.3%
E 0 0%
Total 169,273  

animals by invasiveness 2018

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 7,508 in 2018, compared to 10,956 in 2017. 

Purpose 1: Basic Research - 57.5 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 0.7 per cent to 97,306, compared to 97,986 in 2017.

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 2018 there was an 8 per cent increase in the number of animals used in this category compared to 2017. (58,678 in 2018, compared to 54,394 in 2017).

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 2018, 1.7 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 1.7 per cent of animals involved in UBC research were used for educational purposes in 2018.

Purpose Of Use Number Percentage
0 7,508 4.4%
1 97,306 57.5%
2 58,678 34.7%
3,4 2,843 1.7%
5 2,938 1.7%
Total 169,273  

animals by purpose of use 2018