Frequently asked questions

Why do you still research using animals?

In a university where biological sciences and medicine have a high profile, such as the University of Exeter, animals are sometimes necessary for research and teaching. Until satisfactory alternatives have been developed, the processes of discovery, enquiry and teaching require approaches that involve animals in order to gain a knowledge and understanding of molecular biology, ecology, behaviour, physiology and pathology, and in order to pass on that knowledge to students.

Scientists at the University of Exeter, in common with many other researchers, are constantly seeking ways to reduce the number of animals needed for research and teaching; refining experimental methods, and replacing animals wherever possible, working to the exacting requirements of the Home Office and funding agencies.

However, ‘alternative’ tests and models have yet to be developed that can properly reproduce the complex biological characteristics of humans and animals, and studies of wild animals in their natural environment will always require the involvement of the animals themselves.

Why aren’t there alternative research methods?

There are very many non-animal research methods, all of which are used at the University of Exeter. These include research using human participants, computer models and simulations, and statistical modelling.

By law, non-animal research methods must be used wherever possible. For many projects, of course, this will mean no animals are needed at all. For others, there will be an element of the research which is essential and for which there is no alternative means of obtaining the relevant information.

How many animals and what species are involved in research at the University of Exeter?

In 2018, 32284 animals were used for research at the University of Exeter. Some of these animals were housed at the University, and some were observed in the field.

 

In 2017, 27237 animals were used for research at the University of Exeter. Some of these animals were housed at the University, and some were observed in the field.

Species No. of procedures in 2017 No. animals used in 2017
Pheasant 200 200
Northern Gannett 61 61

Corvidae 

356 356
Pied Flycatcher 217 217
Guppy  959 959
Zebra Fish 22144 22144
Three Spined Stickleback 909 909 
Swordtail 9
Fathead Minnow 760 760 
Hump-backed Limia 10 10 
Rainbow Trout 174 174 
Sea Bass 8
Red Tail Splitfin 3
Basking Shark 3 3
Mice 1308 1308
Rat 50 50
Pine Marten 12 12
Bats 54 54
TOTAL 27237 27237

In 2016, 30441 animals were used for research at the University of Exeter. Some of these animals were housed at the University, and some were observed in the field.

Species No. of procedures in 2016  No. animals used  in 2016
Pheasant 200 200 
Northern Gannett  64 64 
Corvidae 354 306 
Pied Flycatcher 353 353 
Blue Tit 269 269 
Guppy  1118 1118 
Zebra Fish  24813 24813
Stickleback  1967 1967 
Swordtail   45 45 
Humpbacked limia  5
Redtail splitfin  1
Brown Knifefish  6
Rainbow Trout  286 286
Southern Platyfish  74 74
Basking Shark  3
Mouse   608 608 
Hazel Dormouse 32 32
Grey Squirrel 48 48
Pine Marten 21 21
Polecat 6 6
Bats 168 168
Total 30441 30393

In 2015, 11905 animals were used for research at the University of Exeter. Some of these animals were housed at the University, and some were observed in the field.

Species  No. of procedures in 2015  No. of animals used in 2015 
Pheasant 200 200 
Northern Gannett 60 60 
Corvidae  384 384 
Pied Flycatcher  316 316 
Common Buzzard 45 45
Blue Tit  242 242 
Brent Goose  71 71 
Guppy  786 786 
Zebra Fish  7132 7132 
Stickleback  929 929 
Swordtail  6
Rainbow Trout  168 168 
Brown Trout  209 209 
Roach  371 371 
Mangrove Killifish 30 30 
Southern Platyfish  14 14 
Basking Shark  5
Mouse  821 821 
Hazel Dormouse  21 21 
Grey Squirrel 64 64
Pine Marten 31 31
Total  11905 11905

In 2014, 17823 animals were used for research at the University of Exeter. Some of these animals were housed at the University, and some were observed in the field.

Species  No. of procedures in 2014 No. of animals used in 2014 
Pheasant 284 284 
Northern Gannett  63 63 
Corvidae  284 284 
Pied Flycatcher  103 103 
Guppy  784 784 
Zebra Fish  13522 13522 
Stickleback  411 411 
Nile Tilapia  10 10 
Flounder  39 39 
Rainbow Trout  76 76 
Sea Bass  369 369 
Turbot  10 10 
Shanny  29 29 
Roach  432 432 
Goldsinny Wrasse  30 30 
Splitfin Goodeid  758 758 
Mouse 540 540 
Basking Shark  10 10 
Bat  69 69
Total 17823 17823