1st February 2016
Worst UK universities for animal testing are revealed
Nearly 1 million animals tested at five worst universities for animal experiments
Five UK universities have each tested on over 150,000 animals per year. The universities are Oxford, Edinburgh, University College London, King’s College London and Cambridge. In 2014 they used a total of 930,126 animals in experiments. According to the Home Office, testing in universities made up approximately 50% of all animal experiments in Britain.
The figures were collected by Cruelty Free International under Freedom of Information (FOI) requests. In 2014 the following numbers of animals were used by each university:
- Oxford University (226,739)
- Edinburgh University (200,861)
- University College London (176,901)
- King’s College London (165,068)
- Cambridge University (160,557)
Experiments were performed on many species including monkeys, rabbits, sheep, guinea pigs, ferrets, fish, birds, frogs, rats and mice. In some experiments, monkeys were deprived of food or water. They had electrodes surgically placed into their skulls and body, or were trapped inside plastic boxes while blasted with loud noise. In other experiments, rats were injected with acid to cause brain damage, or restrained in plastic tubes and forced to swim in a cylinder of water for 10 minutes before being decapitated and dissected.
Of 70 UK universities approached, five universities failed to provide any data. Manchester and Southampton did not respond to the request, while Imperial College London, Bristol and Aston refused to give details. Imperial, the subject of an undercover investigation by Cruelty Free International in 2012, has said it will publish the number of animals used in experiments on its website, but has not yet done so. In 2013 Imperial was the 6th highest user of animals, experimenting on 130,358 animals.
Dr Katy Taylor, Director of Science at Cruelty Free International, said: “The public will be shocked to learn that five of the UK’s leading universities are responsible for testing on almost one million animals, despite an increasing number of universities recognising this isn’t the way to do research. We urge them to leave this archaic practice behind and move towards developing innovative and humane research methods for the 21st century.”