Research

Animal Research Policy

Animal Research Policy

Animal Research Policy

Research using animals has made, and continues to make, a vital contribution to the understanding, treatment and cure of a range of major 21st century health problems including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and mental illness. While new methods have enabled scientists and medical researchers to reduce work involving animals, some work must continue for further fundamental advances to be made.

In addition to using animals in a small proportion of its medical research, the University is also dedicated to research that aims to increase our understanding of animal behaviour and welfare. This research provides novel solutions, particularly in the areas of conservation and welfare, which can then be applied to a range of farm, companion and laboratory animals.

Newcastle University only uses animals in research programmes which are of the highest quality and where there are no alternatives. All such work is carried out under licences issued by the Home Secretary after weighing the potential benefits against the effects on the animals concerned. The University is committed to the principles of reduction, refinement and replacement; on each project it ensures that the number of animals used is minimised and that procedures, care routines and husbandry are refined to maximise welfare.

The University's ethical review process considers all proposals for work that involves living animals. It includes lay representation, an independent chairman and provides ethical advice on standards of animal care, welfare and accommodation. The University ensures that those working with animals are aware of their responsibilities and receive appropriate training. Veterinary and animal care staff are actively involved in the ethical review of research, welfare and care of animals and provide ongoing advice and support to researchers where necessary.

In medical research, the University is committed to the development of a number of alternative methods such as computer modelling, tissue culture, cell and molecular biology, and research with human subjects. Animal procedures are replaced with non-animal techniques wherever possible and this is reflected in the fact that over 90% of medical research conducted at the University does not involve experiments on animals. Where the use of animals remains essential, the University applies a culture of care and respect for animal welfare.

Newcastle University is proud of its achievements in improving the welfare of laboratory animals, for which it has won national and international awards. The University is one of a small number of institutions that has active research programmes in this field and contributes to the development of further improvements in UK standards of laboratory animal care, which are already amongst the highest in the world.

Mouse in lab tests

1 January 2015 - 31 December 2015

A breakdown by species of the number of animal procedures carried out at Newcastle University from 1st January 2015 to 31st December 2015:

Type of Animal Number of Procedures
Mouse 22,581
Rat 631
Guinea Pig 55
Pig 273
Macaque 27
European Starling 163
Fish 8,770
Domestic Fowl 832
Squirrel 40
Total: 33,372

Of the animals listed above the pigs and domestic fowl were used in agriculture research and then returned to stock on the farm.

The European Starlings were used in behavioural research and the squirrels were used for conservation research.

Therefore, the total used in Medical Research was: 32,267

We record numbers of animals which underwent procedures which were below the threshold for regulations.

The definition of the threshold for regulation is a procedure which causes animals to experience a level of pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm equivalent to, or higher than, that caused by inserting a hypodermic needle according to good veterinary practice.

Type of Animal Number of Procedures
Mouse 16,166
Fish 8,770
Total: 24,936

Therefore, the total number of procedures which were above the threshold for regulation, or in other words caused pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm was: 8,346.

 

1 January 2014 - 31 December 2014

The table below shows the number of animal procedures carried out at Newcastle University:

Type of Animal Number of Procedures
Mouse 20,924
Rat 792
Guinea Pig 89
Pig 195
Macaque 35
European Starling 74
Fish 5,175
Rabbit 17
Total: 27,301

All of the pigs were used in agriculture research and then returned to stock on the farm. The European Starlings were used in behavioural research. Therefore, the total used in medical research was: 27,032

From the start of 2014 we've been able to record numbers of animals that underwent procedures which were below the threshold for regulation.

The definition of the 'threshold for regulation' is a procedure which causes an animal to experience a level of pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm equal to, or higher than, that caused by inserting a hypodermic needle according to good veterinary practice.

Type of Animal Number of Procedures
Mouse 12,584
Rat 20
Fish 4,925
Total: 17,529

So, the total number of procedures which were above the threshold for regulation, or in other words caused pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm was: 9,772.