In 2018, the RVC used 16,691 animals in research. The vast majority of these were rodents, (predominantly rats (37% and mice (25%)); and zebrafish (18%).

These figures were submitted to the Home Office as part of the annual returns.

SpeciesNumber usedRehomed/Returned to owners
Amphibians 24  
Cats 4 4
Cattle 17  
Dogs 33 29
Domestic Fowl 2,814  
Horses 270 265
Mice 4,162  
Pigs 179  
Rats 6,108  
Sheep 53  
Tinamous 4  
Turkeys 28  
Zebrafish 2,995  
Totals 16,691 298

Eighteen client-owned pet dogs and four pet cats were involved in studies conducted under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act (ASPA) at the RVC where veterinary patients are studied in depth. These were all used with informed client consent and involved procedures of recognised veterinary practice but for reasons explained below could not be undertaken under the Veterinary Surgeons Act.

The majority of the horses used were client owned animals who were part of our clinical research programmes. Seventeen cows were blood sampled for experimental purposes but remained as part of a dairy herd at the College’s farm. The majority of the procedures (67.7%) we undertake are classified as sub-threshold (e.g. breeding of genetically altered mice), mild (e.g. taking a series of blood samples) or non-recovery (conducted under terminal anaesthesia) – see table below.

We undertake a large number of clinical studies involving veterinary patients who return to the care of their owners at the end of each procedure, which may have been something as simple as a blood test. Some of these studies need to be undertaken under ASPA - because, for example, additional blood samples or other clinical tests were undertaken for research purposes, rather than for the direct benefit of the animal involved in the study - and are included in the above table and the numbers of animals involved detailed above.

For more information on these types of studies and the animals involved see Research using Client-owned Animals.

See also Use of Animals in Research - Case Studies for a series of short articles explaining how and why we use animals in research at the RVC.

Severity of procedures

Sub-thresholdMildModerateNon-RecoverySevere
10.7% 49.3% 31.1% 7.7% 1.1%

The proportion of our funded research that relates to animal work

As a measure of the proportion of our research that involves experimental animals, the amount external grant funding used to cover the costs of purchasing and keeping the animals has been calculated as a percentage of the total non-pay spend from external grants and is 12.5%.

2017/18

BSU charges to RES grants - total              559,511
Total non-pay cost to RES grants          4,490,000
   
% 12.5%

   

Top of page