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Birmingham is one of the ten worst unis in the country for conducting animal testing research

UoB is one of them

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It has recently been announced that the University of Birmingham is one of ten leading UK universities that conduct over a third of the UK’s animal research. UoB is listed in ninth place behind other QS World University Ranking top 100 universities including Oxford and Cambridge.

The figures shown below were published by the universities in question as part of an ‘ongoing commitment to greater openness about animal research’. It is the second time universities have come together in this way to collectively publish details of their research.

The combined figures show that the top ten universities are responsible for more than two thirds of all UK university animal research, a figure which amounts to 1.4 million procedures in 2016.

The information, openly published on UoB’s website argues the importance of animal research in creating medicines and cures, but also comments on the fact that many inhumane testing facilities are still in existence.

A statement from the University of Birmingham emphasises the importance of animal research in developing drugs and technologies which will help fight against serious diseases such as cancer, arguing that some diseases can only be studied in a living creature. They commented that animal experimentation only occurs when there is no alternative, in accordance with strict government guidelines.

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Figures were also released which detailed the species of animal tested on. Over 99% the procedures at the top ten universities were carried out on rodents or fish. Larger animals such as pigs and rabbits have not been used by UoB in recent years.

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The university's Biomedical Services Unit (BMSU) page states that they perform a ‘wide range of services’ and have been rated ‘good’ for both excellence in animal care, and the welfare of their animals. Their website claims that ‘any research is of the highest quality and the welfare of the animals is paramount at all times’. The department has a ‘first class unit with the most up to date equipment available and our animals are cared for by a team of highly skilled and dedicated individuals’. There are three Animal Care and Welfare Officers as well as a vet and a team of animal technicians who monitor the animal welfare in the facilities. The technicians are regularly encouraged to undertake professional development and are all described as ‘specialists in the care of animals’.

Periodic visits from a Home Office inspector also ensures that the welfare and facilities are in compliance with government guidelines and all research that uses the animals is checked by the Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body to ensure that there were no possible research alternatives.

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