Animal research

UBC releases 2020 animal research statistics

University News

UBC’s summary of the animals involved in research at the university in 2020 is now available.

This is the eleventh consecutive year that the university has published the data. UBC is one of the few Canadian universities to publish animal research statistics annually. The university publishes the data as part of its overall commitment to openness and transparency.

The data was collected for UBC’s annual report to the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC), a national body that oversees the ethical use of animals in science.

“The use of animals in research plays a crucial role in understanding and developing treatments and responses to mitigate the often devastating impacts of diseases and medical conditions on people around the world,” said the university veterinarian. Ian Welch.

“At UBC, our researchers are also committed to improving animal health and welfare and to learning more about animal behavior to inform conservation and preservation efforts around the world, especially in response to climate change and environmental impacts. ”

The development of research methods that reduce, refine and replace the animals involved in research is always a guiding principle in these studies, Welch added, as is our commitment to ensuring that all research animals receive the highest levels of care. .

The procedures are reviewed and approved by the university’s animal care committee, which is made up of research experts, licensed veterinarians, and community representatives.

In addition to sharing statistics, UBC offers a virtual tour of its animal care facilities here. For more information on UBC’s 2020 Animal Research Statistics, as well as information on the medical and scientific discoveries made through this research, visit


Animals involved in UBC research in 2020

In 2020, a total of 108,223 animals were involved in 496 research and teaching protocols at UBC. This is a 28% decrease from 2019, when 151,239 animals were involved in 642 research and teaching protocols. The reduction in the number of animals involved is partly due to the disruption of research activities in 2020 caused by the pandemic.

More than 97 percent of the animals involved in UBC’s research were rodents, fish, reptiles and amphibians.

The number of large mammals involved in research increased to 1,659 in 2020 from 1,194 in 2019, mainly due to a large study focused on generating scientific recommendations to improve the welfare of dairy cattle by identifying the best housing and management practices.

The majority (52%) of animals in research at UBC remain rodents, but that number also fell to 56,217 in 2020 from 85,263 in 2019.

The number of animals in research involving breeding was 6,768 in 2020, compared to 5,041 in 2019. In the breeding category, we only record animals for which breeding is the research project.

Over 39 percent of the animals (42,446) were involved in procedures that caused less than minor or short-term stress (CCAC invasion categories B and C). These include observations of animal behavior, blood sampling, tagging and tracking of wild animals. The number of animals involved in Category D (moderate to severe distress) procedures decreased by 20% in 2020 compared to 2019.