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.

ROP 2018

 

 

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 9
Fathead Minnow  760 760
Hump-backed Limia 10 10
Rainbow Trout  174 174
Sea Bass  8 8
Red Tail Splitfin   3 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 5
Redtail splitfin  1 1
Brown Knifefish 6 0
Rainbow Trout  286 286
Brown Trout  0 0
Roach  0 0
Mangrove Killifish  0 0
Southern Platyfish  74 74
Basking Shark  3 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 6
Rainbow Trout 168 168
Brown Trout 209 209
Roach 371 371
Mangrove Killifish 30 30
Southern Platyfish 14 14
Basking Shark 5 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