UCL slammed by activists over animal testing figures
Over 175,000 animals were tested on in 2014
Furious animal rights activists have attacked UCL after it was discovered almost 177,000 animals were experimented on in 2014.
Cruelty Free International, an anti-vivisection organisation, obtained the data through a Freedom of Information request which revealed UCL came in a depressing third with 176,901 animals having been used in experiments.
Oxford and Edinburgh were first and second respectively, with King’s and Cambridge bringing the total for the top five up to almost one million.
A wide variety of animals were used in experiments from fish and frogs, to larger ones such as sheep, ferrets, and monkeys.
In a public statement, UCL said: “UCL is committed to openness about our animal research and we are a signatory to the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK.
“UCL is a world-leading medical research institution and animal research forms a relatively small but vital proportion of our work. 26 per cent of our research staff have used animals at least once during their UCL career. The majority of our research staff, 74 per cent, do not use animals in their research.
“Animal research has been at the heart of medical progress throughout history, and much of the medicine we take for granted has roots in animal studies. From penicillin and painkillers to cutting-edge cancer drugs, animal research has played a crucial part in the development of almost every medical treatment used today.”
They added: “Animals are only used when no other methods can address the research questions being posed. Where alternative methods are available, researchers will always use these before considering animal models.
“The high standards of welfare at UCL make it expensive to use animals, so there is no incentive for researchers to do so unless absolutely essential.”
Cruelty Free International (formerly the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection) has called out universities on multiple occasions for their use of animals in experimentation and has several high profile supporters, including notable UCL alumnus Ricky Gervais.