Canada (University of British Columbia) UBC releases 2021 animal research statistics

UBC’s summary of animals involved in research at the university in 2021 is now available.

This is the 12th consecutive year the university has published the data. UBC is one of the few Canadian universities to publish animal research statistics annually. The university publishes the data as part of its overall commitment to openness and transparency.

The data was collected for UBC’s annual report to the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC), a national organization that oversees the ethical use of animals in science.

“The use of animals in research plays a crucial role in understanding and developing treatments and responses to alleviate the often-devastating impacts of diseases and medical conditions for people around the world,” said university veterinarian Ian Welch.

“At UBC, our researchers are also committed to improving animal health and welfare and to learn more about animal behavior in order to inform conservation and preservation efforts around the world, particularly in response to climate change and environmental impacts.”

Developing research methods that reduce, refine and replace animals involved in research is always a guiding principle in these studies, Welch added, as is our dedication to ensuring that all research animals receive the very highest levels of care.

Procedures are reviewed and approved by the university’s Animal Care Committee, which is made up of research experts, licensed veterinarians and community representatives.

In addition to sharing statistics, UBC provides a virtual tour of its animal care facilities here. For information on UBC’s 2021 animal research statistics, as well as information about the medical and scientific discoveries achieved through that research, visit


Animals involved in UBC research in 2021

In 2021, a total of 130,168 animals were involved in 419 research and teaching protocols at UBC. That’s an increase of 20 per cent from 2020 when 108,223 animals were involved in research and teaching protocols. The increase in the number of animals involved was due in part to the resumption of many research activities following their curtailment in 2020 due to the pandemic. The number of animals involved in research in 2021 remained 14 per cent lower than the 2019 total.

More than 98 per cent of animals involved in UBC research were rodents, fish, reptiles and amphibians.

The number of large mammals involved in research decreased to 1,385 in 2021 from 1,659 in 2020.

The majority (51 per cent) of animals in research at UBC remain rodents, numbering 66,108 in 2021 compared to 56,217 in 2020.

Almost 52 per cent of the animals (67,352) were involved in procedures that cause less than minor or short-term stress (CCAC Categories of Invasiveness B and C). These include observations of animal behaviors, blood sampling, tagging and tracking of wild animals. The number of animals involved in Category D procedures (moderate to severe distress) decreased by four per cent in 2021 compared to 2020