BUAV condemns increase of university experiments in Northern Ireland

06/02/2014

Statistics published recently by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland have shown that a total of 17,445 animals were used in experiments in 2012, a slight decrease of just over 1% compared to 2011. However, use of animals by universities has risen so that it now comprises 70% of animal experiments in Northern Ireland.

During 2012, there were 12,132 mice, 1,255 rats, 69 rabbits, 2 hamsters, 6 cats, 12 dogs, 40 ‘other carnivores’, 7 horses, 426 pigs, 1,198 cattle, 1,019 birds, 6 amphibians and 90 fish used in experiments.

The BUAV is concerned that the six cats were subjected to 167 experiments, an average of almost 28 experiments per animal while the 12 dogs were subjected to an average of 11 experiments each. We will be asking the government to explain why.

The majority of experiments in Northern Ireland took place within universities (70%). According to requests made by the BUAV under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000, in 2012 a total of 13,784 animals were used by Queen’s University Belfast (11,886 animals) and the University of Ulster (1,898 animals).

Recently published animal research from the main universities in Northern Ireland includes:

The anticipated announcement by the UK Government on reducing animal experiments will not apply to Northern Ireland. The BUAV will be writing to Edwin Poots MLA, who is the Minister in charge and asking him to come forward with his own proposals to ensure that a more significant decrease is reflected in the next set of statistics.