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Animal Research

Animal Research at Queen's



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In accordance with our commitment to the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement), whenever possible researchers use non-animal approaches in their research.  For example, cell and tissue culture, molecular biology, computer modelling and the study of samples from human patients are used extensively.

However, some animal work must continue in order that our researchers can examine the aetiology of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, blindness, neurodegeneration, and infectious diseases.  In turn, the enhanced understanding can lead to the development of treatments and cures.  Animals are only used in research where there are no alternatives.  Their use is controlled by the Animal (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA) and subsequent amendments. 

Queen's University Belfast, as a signatory of the Concordat on Openness, is committed to transparency on the use of animals in research.

Subsequently the table below outlines the species and total number of animal procedures, under ASPA, in the last year at Queen’s. 

2020 Statistics


Species Non-RecoveryMildModerateSevereSub-ThresholdTotal
Mice 89 3608 2886 315 5080 11978
Rats 11 27 143 7 65 253
Rabbits   4     5
Gerbils   10       10
Total 100 3649 3029 323  5145  12246

View the figures for previous years 2013 - 2019 and 2019/20 comparison

As a world-leading research intensive University that aims to enhance the understanding, treatment and cure of human disease, researchers sometimes have to harvest tissues or cells from organs, such as eyes, blood vessels, brain or kidneys to enhance detailed physiological knowledge.  Subsequently, animals are sacrificed solely for this purpose.  The Department of Health, Northern Ireland, request every five years figures for 'Schedule 1' use. These were last produced for the years 2013 - 2017 and are available to view