Deputy Digital Editor John Wimperis explains that the University's new Engineering building has been approved by Birmingham City CouncilWritten by John Wimperis on 17th June 2018
Birmingham One Of Top 10 Universities Conducting Animal Research
Branwen Onono reports on the news that UoB is in the top 10 Universities conducting animal research in the UK
A recent report has shown that just ten UK universities, including the University of Birmingham, carried out a third of all experiments on animals in the UK last year.
The University of Oxford alone carried out nearly a quarter of a million of the 1.37 million tests carried out by the institutions.
UCL president and provost Professor Michael Arthur said that the fact UCL performs a large proportion of the UK’s biomedical research is ‘something to be proud of’ stating that ‘with recent advances in gene editing techniques, genetically modified animals offer particularly promising avenues of research.
“universities are committed to the ‘3Rs’ of replacement, reduction and refinement.
‘This year, UCL researchers discovered a genetic defect in children with a rare and debilitating form of childhood Parkinsonism leading to difficulties walking and talking. By replicating the genetic defect in fish, the team were able to better understand the disease and test different treatments. When a drug that corrected the defect in the fish was given to a child with the condition, she regained the ability to walk.’
All ten of the universities signed the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK, a commitment to greater transparency on the use of animals in research. In addition to this the universities are committed to the ‘3Rs’ of replacement, reduction and refinement.
“number of animal experiments in the UK increased by between 2014 and 2015 to 4.41 million procedures.
Although, the agreement is intended to minimise suffering and improve animal welfare, Dr Lindsay Marshall of the Humane Society International argues that a reduction in the number of animals used doesn’t mean humane treatment, as it can lead to an increase in reusing the same animal in different experiments. ‘It may reduce the number of animals tested on,’ she said, but ‘it increases the amount of suffering they experience.’
The ten universities that conducted the most animal research, and the individual animal research statistics are as follows:
University of Oxford: 226,214
University of Edinburgh: 212,695
University College London: 202,554
University of Cambridge: 181,080
King’s College London: 175,296
University of Manchester: 145,457
Imperial College London: 101,179
University of Glasgow: 49,082
University of Birmingham: 47,657
University of Nottingham: 31,689
The number of animal experiments in the UK increased by 7% between 2014 and 2015 to 4.41 million procedures. As universities grow, they conduct more research meaning that the total number of animals tested on can increase even if fewer animals are used per study. The news comes after concerns were raised over the UK’s animal testing laws after the Brexit vote. Currently, the UK is in step with EU regulations on animal testing, however it is not clear whether regulations and standards will stay in place.
The tests carried out were split evenly between experimentation and the practice of breeding genetically modified animals, and 99% of the animals tested by the universities were carried out on either rodents or fish.