• Ten universities account for one third of all animal research in the UK
• Largest animal users are all among the top universities in the world
• All ten universities have signed up to Concordat on Openness on Animals Research in the UK
Understanding Animal Research, an organisation promoting greater openness about animal research, has today released a list of the ten universities in the UK that conduct the highest number of animal procedures – those used in medical, veterinary and scientific research. These statistics are freely available on the universities’ websites as part of their ongoing commitment to transparency and openness.
The figures show that the ten institutions collectively conducted over one third of all UK animal research in 2017.* All ten universities appear in the QS 2018 World University Ranking Top 200 and seven appear in the Top 50.**
The top ten institutions conducted 1.32 million procedures, 35% of the 3.79 million procedures conducted in Great Britain in 2017. Over 99% of these procedures were carried out on rodents or fish, and in line with national data they were almost evenly split between experimental work and the breeding of genetically modified animals.
The ten universities are listed below alongside the total number of procedures that they carried out in 2017. Each institution’s name links to its animal research webpage which includes more detailed statistics. This is the third year in a row universities have come together to publicise their collective numbers and examples of their research.
Number of procedures by institution
University of Oxford - 236,429
University of Edinburgh - 225,366
University College London - 214,570
University of Cambridge - 157,975
King’s College London - 121,741
University of Manchester - 104,863
University of Sheffield - 83,300
Imperial College London - 79,492
Cardiff University - 46,743
University of Glasgow - 46,045
All universities are committed to the ‘3Rs’ of replacement, reduction and refinement. This means avoiding or replacing the use of animals where possible; minimising the number of animals used per experiment and optimising the experience of the animals to improve animal welfare. However, as universities expand and conduct more research, the total number of animals used can rise even if fewer animals are used per study.
All ten universities are signatories to the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK, a commitment to be more open about the use of animals in scientific, medical and veterinary research in the UK. Over 120 organisations have signed the concordat including UK universities, charities, research funders and commercial research organisations.
Wendy Jarrett, Chief Executive of Understanding Animal Research, which developed the Concordat on Openness, said: 'The Concordat has fostered a culture of openness at research institutions up and down the country. Institutions now provide an unprecedented level of information about how and why they conduct medical, veterinary and scientific research using animals. Almost two-thirds of the university Concordat signatories provide their animal numbers openly on their websites – accounting for almost 90% of all animal research at UK universities.'
*The Home Office recorded 3.79 million completed procedures in 2017, 1.32 million of which were carried out at the top ten universities. A total of 1.90 million procedures were carried out across all universities in 2017, representing half of all procedures in Great Britain.
** The QS World University Ranking aims to capture university performance using a variety of measures.