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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. 

2021 Statistics


Species Non-RecoveryMildModerateSevereSub-ThresholdTotal
Mice 113 4530 3710 455 3382 12190
Rats 5 12 316 3 102 438
Rabbits   9       9
Gerbils   60       60
Fish   8       8
Total 118 4619 4026 458 3484 12705

View the figures for previous years 2013 - 2019 and 2020/21 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