Understanding Animal Research (UAR), an organisation that promotes open communications about animal research, has published a list of the ten organisations that carry out the highest number of animal procedures – those used in medical, veterinary, and scientific research – in Great Britain.
These statistics are freely available on the organisations’ websites, including the University of Glasgow, as part of their ongoing commitment to transparency and openness around the use of animals in research.
This list coincides with the publication of the Home Office’s report on the statistics of scientific procedures on living animals in Great Britain in 2022.
These ten organisations carried out 1,434,403 procedures, 52% or just over half of the 2,761,204 procedures carried out on animals for scientific research in Great Britain in 2022*. Of these 1,434,403 procedures, more than 99% were carried out on mice, fish and rats and 82% were classified as causing pain equivalent to, or less than, an injection.
The ten organisations are listed below alongside the total number of procedures they carried out in 2022. Each organisation’s name links to its animal research webpage, which includes more detailed statistics. Case studies explaining how animal research has been used in recent medical research are also provided in the Notes to Editors section. This is the eighth consecutive year that organisations have come together to publicise their collective statistics and examples of their research.
|Number of Procedures (2022)
|University of Oxford
|University of Cambridge
|The Francis Crick Institute
|University of Edinburgh
|Medical Research Council
|King’s College London
|University of Glasgow
|University of Manchester
|Imperial College London
64 organisations have published their 2022 animal research statistics
UAR has also produced a list (see appendix) of 64 organisations in the UK that have publicly shared their 2022 animal research statistics. This includes organisations that carry out and/or fund animal research.
All organisations are committed to the ethical framework called 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 institutions expand and conduct more research, the total number of animals used can rise even if fewer animals are used per study.
All organisations listed are signatories to the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK, which commits them to being more open about the use of animals in scientific, medical and veterinary research in the UK. More than 125 organisations have signed the Concordat including UK universities, medical research charities, research funders, learned societies and commercial research organisations.
Wendy Jarrett, Chief Executive of Understanding Animal Research, which developed the Concordat on Openness, said:
“Animal research remains a small but vital part of the quest for new medicines, vaccines and treatments for humans and animals. Alternative methods are gradually being phased in, but, until we have sufficient reliable alternatives available, it is important that organisations that use animals in research maintain the public’s trust in them. By providing this level of information about the numbers of animals used, and the experience of those animals, as well as details of the medical breakthroughs that derive from this research, these Concordat signatories are helping the public to make up their own minds about how they feel about the use of animals in scientific research in Great Britain.”
David Duncan, University of Glasgow Deputy Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer, said:
“Research using animals makes a vital contribution to the understanding, treatment and cure of a range of major diseases and viruses in humans such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and COVID-19. While the University is committed to the development of alternative methods – such as computer modelling, tissue culture, cell and molecular biology, and research with human material – some work involving animals must continue for further advances in medical sciences to be made. Animals are used in research only where it is essential, and the University remains committed to the principles of reduction, refinement, and replacement. All research undertaken on animals is conducted under strict ethical and welfare guidelines, under licence by the Home Office.”
University of Glasgow Drug Screening and Resistance Hub (CRUSH)
Established in 2021, CRUSH is a University of Glasgow-led drug screening resistance hub which strives to address pandemic preparedness, including antiviral drug development for some of the world’s most dangerous and deadly viruses. Based at the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research (CVR), CRUSH continues to help support the global scientific effort against COVID-19 by providing a fully integrated hub for pre-clinical drug screening for SARS-CoV-2, as well as providing the same services for other dangerous and deadly viruses in high containment facilities.
CRUSH has a wealth of technical and research expertise and uses in vitro lab techniques alongside pre-clinical animal models to carry out its vital work. CRUSH only use animals in research when there is no other suitable alternative available, and the hub is committed to the principles of the three Rs – replacement, refinement, and reduction. Currently, CRUSH uses mouse and Syrian hamster models to assess the risk posed by new SARS-CoV-2 mutations and also to evaluate the most promising anti-viral drug candidates to target the virus. Benefitting from its unique position alongside the world-leading CVR research facility, the important work being carried out in CRUSH is best placed to meet some of the world’s most pressing viral challenges, including responding to virus mutation and potential anti-viral resistance.