Biomedical Services Unit – FAQ

The UOBengage account has received a few inquiries today regarding an article published in the Birmingham Mail. Our Press Office have provided this response:

We publish the species and numbers of animals that are used for research at the University on our website.

We are involved in research to develop drugs and medical technologies that will help in the fight against life threatening and debilitating diseases and improve health care for patients, and indeed animals too. Some diseases and health problems involve processes that can only be studied in a living organism. For example, treatments for heart disease , diabetes, Alzheimer’s and certain types of cancer have all been developed by involving animals in testing and research.

A spokesperson for the University of Birmingham said: “We adhere to strict guidelines from the Home Office and are regulated by the Operational Guidance to the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, which requires that experimentation on animals should only occur when there is no alternative research technique. As part of that regulatory framework we have periodic visits from a Home Office inspector who checks the welfare of the animals used in research and the facilities that they are kept in. During these visits the inspector is looking for evidence of a caring culture, which ensures responsible behaviour and respect for the use and care of animals.

“All research that requires the use of animals is scrutinised by the Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body to ensure that there are no possible alternatives to the use of animals and that studies are carried out to the highest standards of welfare and care, following the 3R’s principles of replacement, reduction and refinement. The 3Rs are a widely accepted ethical framework for conducting scientific experiments using animals humanely.”

In 2015, 47,657 animals were humanely euthanized. A significant number (around 70%) were part of a breeding programme and were not involved in experimental procedures.

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