Northern Ireland Statistics on Animal Research 2013
Tom Holder, Campaigns Manager, gives a brief overview of the recently released animal research statistics for Northern Ireland.
The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland has released the Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals, Northern Ireland 2013. Animals used in research in Northern Ireland are not included in the UK’s annual statistics, which provide only animal numbers in England, Scotland and Wales.
Overall, there were 19,860 procedures in Northern Irish institutions. The number of animals rose by 7.4% (or 1,361 animals) from 18,499 in 2012, primarily due to a rise in the number of domestic fowl used in research (up 1,076 from 2012). Unlike the rest of the UK, most procedures (62%) did not involve genetically altered animals (compared with 39% in the rest of the UK).
Mice, rats, birds and fish account for 80% of all research species, with another 19% on pigs, sheep and cattle. There were no procedures conducted on primates in 2013.
Two-thirds of all procedures were conducted at universities and medical schools in Ireland, whereas commercial organisations accounted for only 8% of procedures, with the rest at non-profit organisations.
To give some overall perspective on the numbers, if the Northern Irish numbers were combined with the rest of the UK, NI would account for less than 0.5% of the total number of animals used.
It is fantastic that NI produces the same high quality statistics as the rest of the UK – allowing the British public to see exactly what research is done there.