Animals Research at UBC


UBC animal research statistics

2015 Summary

In 2015, a total of 185,692 animals were involved in 517 research and teaching protocols at UBC.
Birds, non-rodent mammals and marine mammals each represent less than two per cent of total animals involved in research at UBC last year.

More than 95 per cent of the mammals involved in research were rodents (53.63 per cent of the grand total). Other animals involved in research were fish (30.1 per cent) and reptiles and amphibians (12.9 per cent).

By Animal Type

Animal Type

Number

Percentage

Rodents 99,597 53.63%
Fish 55,906 30.1%
Reptiles & Amphibians 23,969 12.9%
Birds 1,620 0.87%
Small Mammals 1,341 0.72%
Large Mammals 2,956 1.59%
Marine Mammals 303 0.16%

Grand Total

185,692

 
By Animal 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.

Across two of the four categories the number of animals experiencing invasive research procedures in 2015 was down by 2,799, compared to 2014.

More than 56 per cent of animals involved in research at UBC in 2014 fall under Category B and 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 2.1 per cent increase over 2014.
No animals were involved in category E studies representing severe pain, at, or above the pain tolerance of unanesthetized conscious animals.

By category of invasiveness

Category

Number

Percentage

B 55,214 29.73%
C 49,398 26.60%
D 81,080 43.66%
E 0 0%
Grand total 185,692
By category of invasiveness

Why are animals involved in research at UBC?

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 493 in 2015, compared to 20,783 in 2014. Under breeding we are now more accurately counting those animals where breeding is the research project. Many of the animals previously recorded here are now distributed across other categories such as basic research.

Purpose 1: Basic Research - More than 65 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 increased by 16.5 per cent to 121,446, compared to 104,199 in 2014.

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 2015 there was an 11 per cent increase in the number of animals used in this category compared to 2014.

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 2015, 0.75 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 one per cent of animals involved in UBC research were used for educational purposes (0.99%) in 2015.

By Purpose of Use

Purpose of Use

Number

Percentage

0 493 0.3%
1 121,446 65.4%
2 60,509 32.6%
3,4 1,391 0.7%
5 1.853 1%

Total

185,692

 

2014 Summary

In 2014, a total of 182,115 animals were involved in 869 research and teaching protocols at UBC.
Birds, non-rodent mammals and marine mammals each represent less than one per cent of total animals involved in research at UBC last year.

More than 97 per cent of the mammals involved in research were rodents (62.53 per cent of the grand total). Other animals involved in research were fish (21.51 per cent) and reptiles and amphibians (13.17 per cent).

By Animal Type

Animal Type

Number

Percentage

Rodents 113,894 62.53%
Fish 39,183 21.51%
Reptiles & Amphibians 23,991 13.17%
Birds 1,155 0.63%
Small Mammals 1,371 0.75%
Large Mammals 1,138 0.62%
Marine Mammals 1,383 0.75%

Grand Total

182,115

 
By Animal 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.

Across three of the four categories the number of animals experiencing invasive research procedures in 2014 was down by more than 37,300, compared to 2013.

More than 56 per cent of animals involved in research at UBC in 2014 fall under Category B and 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 3.8 per cent increase over 2013.

By category of invasiveness

Category

Number

Percentage

A 0 0
B 57,986 31.84%
C 44,711 24.55%
D 79,391 43.59%
E 27 0.15%
Grand total 182,115
By category of invasiveness

Why are animals involved in research at UBC?

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

Purpose 0: Breeding

The percentage of research animals held in breeding colonies was 20,783 in 2014, a decline of 43.42 per cent over 2013.

Purpose 1: Basic Research

More than 57 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 used was down by more than 21,000 in 2014, a drop of 16.86 per cent from 2013.

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 2014 there was an eight per cent increase in the number of animals used in this category compared to 2013.

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 2014, 321 fewer animals were used than 2013, a decline of 24.45%.

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. Less than one per cent of animals involved in UBC research were used for educational purposes (0.89%).

By Purpose of Use

Purpose of Use

Description

Number

Percentage

0 Breeding 20,783 11.41%
1 Basic research 104,199 57.21%
2 Medical and veterinary research 54,513 29.93%
3,4 Regulatory testing 992 0.54%
5 Educational purposes 1,628 0.89%

Grand Total

182,115

 
By purpose of Use

2013 Summary

In 2013, a total of 216,450 animals were involved in 911 research and teaching protocols at UBC.

Birds, mammals and marine mammals each represent less than one per cent of total animals involved in research at UBC last year.

More than 97 per cent of the mammals involved in research were rodents (58.35 per cent of the grand total). Other animals involved in research were fish (28.55 per cent) and reptiles and amphibians (10.95 per cent).

More info


By Animal Type

Animal Type

Number

Percentage

Rodents 126,290 58.35%
Fish 61,792 28.55%
Reptiles & Amphibians 23,691 10.95%
Birds 1,358 0.63%
Small Mammals 1,181 0.55%
Large Mammals 1,778 0.82%
Marine Mammals 360 0.17%

Grand Total

227,362

 
By Animal 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.

Across three of the four categories the number of animals experiencing invasive research procedures in 2013 was down by more than 12,000 compared to 2012.

More than two-thirds of animals involved in research at UBC in 2013 fall under Category B and 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 2.55 per cent increase over 2012.

By category of invasiveness

Category

Number

Percentage

A 0 0
B 92,913 42.93%
C 46,978 21.70%
D 76,496 35.34%
E 63 0.03%
Grand total 216,450
By category of invasiveness

For what purposes are animals involved in research at UBC?

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

Purpose 0: Breeding

The percentage of research animals held in breeding colonies was 36,728 in 2013, a rise of 16.24 per cent over 2012.

Purpose 1: Basic Research

Close to 60 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 used was down by nearly 12,000 in 2013, a drop of 8.69 per cent from the 2012 numbers.

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 2013 there was a 7.8 per cent drop in the number of animals used in this category in 2012.

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 2013, 336 fewer animals were used than 2012.

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. Just over one per cent of animals involved in UBC research were used for educational purposes.

By Purpose of Use

Purpose of Use

Description

Number

Percentage

0 Breeding 36,728 16.97%
1 Basic research 125,318 57.90%
2 Medical and veterinary research 50,472 23.32%
3,4 Regulatory testing 1,313 0.61%
5 Educational purposes 2,619 1.21%

Grand Total

216,450

 
By purpose of Use

2012 Summary

In 2012, a total of 227,362 animals were involved in 961 research and teaching protocols at UBC.

Birds, mammals and marine mammals each represent less than one per cent of total animals Involved in research at UBC last year.

More than 98 per cent of the animals involved in research were rodents (58 per cent), fish (30 per cent) and reptiles and amphibians (10 per cent).

More info

By Animal Type

Animal Type

Number

Percentage

Rodents 132,815 58.42%
Fish 67,534 29.55%
Reptiles & Amphibians 22,975 10.08%
Birds 1,783 0.78%
Small Mammals 996 0.44%
Large Mammals 908 0.40%
Marine Mammals 351 0.15%

Grand Total

227,362

 
By Animal 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 two-thirds of animals involved in research at UBC in 2012 fall under Category B and C, which cause less than minor or short-term stress. This includes vast numbers of animals (including those in the wild) that are tagged for tracking and observation – such as seals, sea lions and salmon – in observational and conservation studies.

Less than 33 per cent of animals were involved Category D studies, which are thought to cause moderate to severe distress or discomfort, a four-per-cent decrease from 2011.

There was an increase of 26 animals in Category E studies. This was due to a new investigation into fetal alcohol syndrome involving rats.

By category of invasiveness

Category

Number

Percentage

A n/a n/a
B 101,336 44.57%
C 51,385 22.60%
D 74,556 32.79%
E 85 0.04%

Grand Total

227,362

 
By category of invasiveness

For what purposes are animals involved in research at UBC?

The Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) divides the purposes for which we involve animals into 6 categories.

Purpose 0: Animals held in breeding colonies.

Purpose 1: Just over 60 per cent of animals involved in UBC research were part of basic scientific investigations, including biology, psychology, physiology and biochemistry. These studies help scientists advance knowledge about wild animals, about human and animal health, and about the world we live in.

Purpose 2: 24 per cent of the animals are involved in medical studies in order to enhance human and animal health and to provide insight into the causes and potential treatments for human or animal diseases and disorders.

Purposes 3 and 4: Under Canadian law, all potential drugs, medical products and appliances – including vaccines for both humans and animals, stents, heart valves for humans and bionic parts for pets – must first be tested on animals before clinical trials are allowed. Every effort is made to ensure that we involve the minimum number of animals required in order to obtain scientifically valid data. This represented 0.73 per cent of animals involved in UBC research in 2012.

Purpose 5: A small percentage of advanced courses need animals to teach students the manual techniques and skills of their profession, and to illustrate basic and advanced scientific concepts in complex organisms. Where possible, vertebrate animals are replaced by invertebrates, videos and computer models. Educational programs involving animals at UBC must be approved by the faculty concerned and the University Senate; they are subject to the same level of rigorous CCAC and UBC oversight as research projects. Less than one percent of animals involved in research at UBC were used for educational purposes.

By Purpose of Use

Purpose of Use

Description

Number

Percentage

0 Breeding 31,596 13.90%
1 Basic research 137,247 60.36%
2 Medical and veterinary research 54,754 24.08%
3,4 Regulatory testing 1,649 0.73%
5 Educational purposes 2,116 0.93%

Grand Total

227,362

 
By purpose of Use

2011 Summary

In 2011, a total of 225,043 animals were involved in 983 research protocols at UBC, up from 211,604 in 2010. This is 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.

Nearly 97 per cent of the animals used were rodents (62 per cent), fish (25 per cent) and reptiles and amphibians (10 per cent).

Birds represent 2.1 per cent of all animals used in 2011, all of which were in studies that involve banding, observational (wild birds) and breeding (food production fowls) studies.

Mammals and marine mammals make up 1.5 per cent of animals involved in research at UBC.

More info

By Animal Type

Animal Type

Number

Percentage

Rats & Mice 138,812 61.68%
Fish 54,971 24.42%
Reptiles & Amphibians 23,128 10.28%
Birds 4,719 2.10%
Small Mammals 1,047 0.47%
Large Mammals 800 0.36%
Marine Mammals 1,566 0.79%

Grand Total

225,043

 
By Animal 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.

Nearly 63 per cent of animals involved in research at UBC in 2011 fall under Category B and C, which cause less than minor or short-term stress. This includes vast numbers of animals (including those in the wild) that are tagged for tracking and observation – such as seals, sea lions and salmon – in conservation studies.

Thirty-seven per cent of animals were involved in Category D studies, which are thought to cause moderate to severe distress or discomfort. Less than one per cent, or 59 animals, was involved in a Category E study, which required surgical procedure performed under anesthesia. Around-the-clock veterinary care was provided during recovery.

By category of invasiveness

Category

Number

Percentage

A n/a n/a
B 97,453 43.32%
C 43,731 19.44%
D 83,800 37.25%
E 59 0.03%

Grand Total

225,043

 
By category of invasiveness

For what purposes are animals involved in research at UBC?

The Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) divides the purposes for which we involve animals into 6 categories.

Purpose 0: 15,000 mice, representing new transgenic strains, were bred at UBC in 2011. This accounted for most of the increases in the total number of animals.

Purpose 1: 56 per cent of the animals were part of basic scientific investigations, including biology, psychology, physiology and biochemistry. These studies help scientists advance knowledge about wild animals, about human and animal health, and about the world we live in.

Purpose 2: 25 per cent of the animals are involved in medical studies, in order to enhance human and animal health, and to provide insight into the causes and potential treatments for human or animal diseases and disorders.

Purposes 3 and 4: Under Canadian law, all potential drugs, medical products and appliances – including vaccines for both humans and animals, stents, heart valves for humans and bionic parts for pets – must first be tested on animals before clinical trials are allowed. Every effort is made to ensure that we involve the minimum number of animals required in order to obtain scientifically valid data. 1.7 per cent of animals involved in research at UBC were part of this kind of study.

Purpose 5: A small percentage of advanced courses need animals to teach students the manual techniques and skills of their profession, and to illustrate basic and advanced scientific concepts in complex organisms. Where possible, vertebrate animals are replaced by invertebrates, videos and computer models. Educational programs involving animals at UBC must be approved by the faculty concerned and the University Senate; they are subject to the same level of rigorous CCAC and UBC oversight as research projects. Less than one percent of animals involved in research at UBC were used for educational purposes – a 25 per cent decrease from 2010.

By Purpose of Use

Purpose of Use

Description

Number

Percentage

0 Breeding 36,314 16.13%
1 Basic research 126,644 56.27%
2 Medical and veterinary research 56,140 24.95%
3,4 Regulatory testing 3,788 1.68%
5 Educational purposes 2,157 0.96%

Grand Total

225,043

 
By purpose of Use

2010 Summary

In 2010, a total of 211,604 animals were involved in scientific research at UBC. This represents roughly six per cent of total animals involved in research in Canada (3.375 million according to the Canadian Council for Animal Care.)

In context, UBC ranks consistently amongst the top three recipients of federal research funding in the country.

97 per cent of the animals used were rodents (56 per cent), fish (35 per cent) and reptiles and amphibians (6 per cent).

Birds represent 1.25 per cent of all animals used in 2010, all of which were in studies causing minor, short term or no distress or discomfort (Category B and C).

Mammals other than rodents make up fewer than two per cent of animals used.

More info

By Animal Type

Animal Type

Number

Percentage

Rats & Mice 118,184 55.81
Fish 74,315 35.12
Reptiles & Amphibians 12,368 5.84
Birds 2,653 1.25
Small Mammals 1,863 0.88
Large Mammals 1,570 0.74
Marine Mammals 651 0.31

Grand Total

211,604

 

By Animal Type

How were these numbers compiled?

The numbers and types of animals involved in research at UBC in 2010 were calculated from a total of 982 animal care research protocols approved by the UBC Animal Care Committee for that year. Each research protocol tracks the number and type of animals involved in the study, whether it is a catch-and-release study in the field, an observational study, or a laboratory study.

Every UBC study involving animals is required to pass a detailed ethical review that verifies the study will use humane and appropriate research methodologies, that it will address questions which can only be answered through research with animals, and that it will involve as few animals as possible while generating valid scientific data.

Only when a study proposal passes this vigorous ethical review process – adjudicated by a panel of experts and members of the public – does UBC issue an animal care protocol.

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 two-thirds (68 per cent) of animals involved in research at UBC fall under Category B and C, which cause less than minor or short-term stress. This includes vast numbers of animals (including those in the wild) that are tagged for tracking and observation – such as whales, dolphins, turtles, salmon and seahorses – in conservation studies.

Animals used in Category D studies, which are thought to cause moderate to severe distress or discomfort, make up just under one-third of total animals. The vast majority are mice, rats, toads, and fish. In all studies, proper anesthesia was administered.

Approximately 0.01 per cent, or 31 animals, were involved in Category E studies, all of which were performed in surgical settings. Proper pain control and anesthesia were administered during and after all procedures, as with humans undergoing surgery.

By category of invasiveness

Category

Number

Percentage

B 96,753 45.72
C 46,617 22.03
D 68,203 32.21
E 31 0.0147

Grand Total

211,604

 

By category of invasiveness

For what purposes are animals involved in research at UBC?

The Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) divides the purposes for which we involve animals into 6 categories.

Purpose 1: Of the 211,604 animals involved in scientific research at UBC in 2010, approximately two-thirds (64.9 per cent) took part in basic science projects, including biology, psychology, physiology and biochemistry. These studies help scientists advance knowledge about wild animals, about human and animal health, and about the world we live in.

Purpose 2: Approximately 27 per cent of the animals are involved in medical studies, in order to enhance human and animal health, and to provide insight into the causes and potential treatments for human or animal diseases and disorders.

Purposes 3 and 4: Under Canadian law, all potential drugs, medical products and appliances – including vaccines for both humans and animals, stents, heart valves for humans and bionic parts for pets – must first be tested on animals before clinical trials are allowed. Every effort is made to ensure that we involve the minimum number of animals required in order to obtain scientifically valid data. Approximately one per cent of animals involved in research at UBC were part of this kind of study.

Purpose 5: A small percentage of advanced courses need animals to teach students the manual techniques and skills of their profession, and to illustrate basic and advanced scientific concepts in complex organisms. Where possible, vertebrate animals are replaced by invertebrates, videos and computer models. Educational programs involving animals at UBC must be approved by the faculty concerned and the University Senate; they are subject to the same level of rigorous CCAC and UBC oversight as research projects. Just over one percent of animals involved in research at UBC were used for educational purposes.

Purpose 0: This category covers animals, mostly rats and mice, that are bred with research-specific genetic characteristics. In 2010, those animals represented slightly over five per cent of the total.

By Purpose of Use

Purpose of Use

Description

Number

Percentage

0 Breeding 11,478 5.4
1 Basic research 137,405 64.9
2 Medical and veterinary research 57,274 27.1
3,4 Regulatory testing 2,542 1.2
5 Educational purposes 2,905 1.4

Grand Total

211,604

 

By purpose of Use

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Animal Research
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