Northern Ireland Animal Research Numbers, 2018

11 November 2019

Posted by: UAR news team

Category: Communications & media

Procedures carried out on animals in Northern Ireland, 2018

·         28,790 procedures carried out in Northern Ireland in 2018

·         Total procedures up 16.3% from 2017

·         Procedures in fish up 335% from 2017

A report from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland shows that 28,790 procedures were carried out on animals in 2018. This represents approximately 0.8% of animal research across the UK.

Species

Experimental Procedures

%

Creation & Breeding of GA animals not used in experimental procedures

%

Total Procedures (2018)

% of total

Mice

16,822

70.44%

4,907

100%

21,729

75.47%

Rats

737

3.09%

0

 

737

2.56%

Cattle

2,405

10.07%

0

 

2,405

8.35%

Domestic fowl

235

0.98%

0

 

235

0.82%

Fish

1,749

7.32%

0

 

1,749

6.08%

Other animals

1,935

8.10%

0

 

1,935

6.72%

Total

23,883

100%

4,907

100%

28,790

100%

 

Species

Total procedures (2017)

Total procedures (2018)

% change from 2017

Mice

14,774

21,729

47.08%

Rats

1,105

737

-33.30%

Cattle

6,241

2,405

-61.46%

Domestic fowl

916

235

-74.34%

Fish

402

1,749

335.07%

Other animals

1,318

1,935

46.81%

Total

24,756

28,790

16.30%

In 2018 a total of 28,790 procedures were carried out on animals in Northern Ireland, a 16.3% increase from 2017. There was an increase in the number of procedures carried out in mice and fish, and a decline in the number of procedures carried out in rats, cattle, and domestic fowl, when compared to the previous year. 

Of the 28,790 procedures carried out, 23,883 procedures (82.96%) were experimental and 4,907 procedures (17.04%) were related to the creation/breeding of genetically altered animals not used in experimental procedures. Experimental procedures and procedures related to the creation/breeding of genetically altered animals increased by 19.07% and 4.45%, respectively, when compared to 2017.

Severity

Experimental Procedures

%

Creation & Breeding of GA animals not used in experimental procedures

%

Total Procedures (2018)

% of total

Change from 2017

Sub-threshold

257

1.12%

2,698

55.95%

2,955

10.64%

Non-recovery

275

1.20%

0

0.00%

275

0.99%

Mild

10,454

45.53%

1,556

32.27%

12,010

43.23%

Moderate

11,974

52.15%

568

11.78%

12,542

45.14%

Severe

923

4.02%

85

1.76%

1,008

3.63%

Severity assessments show that 43.23% of all procedures carried out in Northern Ireland were categorised as mild. 45.14% of all procedures were categorised at moderate, 10.64% as sub-threshold, 3.63% as severe, and 0.99% as non-recovery.

In Northern Ireland 47.6% (13,690) of all procedures were undertaken for basic research; 29.4% (8,477) were undertaken for translational/applied research; 3.2% (914) were undertaken for regulatory purposes; 2.5% (726) related to protection of the natural environment; and 0.3% (76) were undertaken for forensic enquiries.

Northern Ireland regulates its animal research and compiles its statistics separately from the rest of the UK (regulated by the Home Office). Every year, the Department of Health in Northern Ireland produces a detailed report explaining what animals were used in different types of research over the year. The research is carefully regulated under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act, 1986.

In 2018, England, Scotland and Wales carried out 3,519,917 procedures on animals, of which 92.6% were on mice, fish and rats. No primates have been used in experiments in Northern Ireland in over a decade. 

More details on Northern Irish statistics can be found here: https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/publications/statistics-scientific-procedures-living-animals-northern-ireland