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Animal use in UBC research increases 2%

More than 96% of the animals were rodents, fish, or amphibians

The vast majority of animals involved in UBC research in 2016 were either rodents, fish, or amphibians.

Dreamstime

The vast majority of animals involved in UBC research in 2016 were either rodents, fish, or amphibians.

University of British Columbia researchers used slightly more animals in 2015 studies compared to 2014, according to statistics released by the university Monday.

The total number of animals in projects – categorized in everything from observational to severe distress – went up by two per cent. But most (56 per cent) of the animals recorded in UBC 2015 studies were involved in minor or short-term stress activities like tagging or blood sampling, according to a written release.

In addition, more than 96 per cent of the animals in total were rodents, fish, or amphibians.

All research-involving animals is done in the name of improving either animal or human welfare, said Ian Welch, director of vet services and research support at UBC.

“There is some phenomenal work taking place. A lot of this research is being done by clinicians and they are very passionate about the human condition they are treating.”

The number of animals involved in studies went up because more grant applications were successful in 2015 compared to 2014, Welch explained.

But the university does encourage researchers to use as few animals as possible.

“Our students, staff and faculty are committed to developing research methods that reduce, refine and replace the use of animals wherever possible,” said Helen Burt, UBC vice president, pro tem, in a written statement.

The Canadian Council for Animal Care (CCAC), a national organization that oversees the ethical use of animals in science, awarded UBC the Good Animal Practice in 2013.

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