National animal research numbers released

The biological research facility at the Crick.

The UK government has published the 2018 statistics on animal research in Great Britain, showing that 3.52 million animal research procedures were carried out throughout the year.

Understanding Animal Research, an organisation promoting openness about animal research, has released a list of the ten institutions that carried out the most animal procedures in 2018. This includes the Crick, and our statistics are available on our website with explanations and examples of each type of procedure.

"As the country’s largest biomedical research institute, we have a particular responsibility to be open about our use of animals in research," said Professor Julian Downward, Associate Research Director at the Crick. "The Crick is home to around 100 labs, and half of us use animals in our research. While we use alternatives wherever possible, living animals are incredibly complex and there are many processes we simply can’t simulate.

"For example, my colleagues recently discovered that when antibiotics kill gut bacteria in mice, their lungs become more vulnerable to flu. We still don’t understand how organs communicate with each other, so this discovery would never have been possible without the study of real living animals. In my lab, we are trying to understand how different genes lead to cancers and how best to treat them. We hope to target the way that tumour cells hide from the immune system, to help the body’s own defences kill off the cancer. This requires understanding of how dozens of different cell types interact with the tumour and simply cannot be addressed solely by studying cultured cells or computational simulations."

Procedure numbers for all ten organisations are given below, including links to web pages with further details:

Organisation

Number of procedures

Medical Research Council268,032
Francis Crick Institute250,940
University of Oxford219,551
University of Edinburgh194,174
UCL182,438
University of Cambridge141,968
University of Glasgow128,982
King's College London121,163
University of Manchester94,913
Imperial College London85,772
Total1,754,122

 

All ten organisations 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. More than 120 organisations have signed the concordat including UK universities, medical research charities, research funders, and commercial research organisations.

Wendy Jarrett, Chief Executive of Understanding Animal Research, which developed the Concordat on Openness, said: "Since the publication of the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK in 2014, organisations that carry out research using animals have been increasingly transparent. These organisations are providing an unprecedented level of information about how and why they conduct medical, veterinary and scientific research using animals. Facts, figures, case studies, and photos about the use of animals in research are now provided directly by the organisations that carry out the research, so that it has never been easier for members of the public to find out why those animals were used in research."

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