Sheffield Uni killed 1,587 animals a week for testing last year

That’s a shocking 226 a day

Freedom of Information requests have found that the University of Sheffield killed 82,512 animals in tests during the 2015/16 academic year.

The requests submitted by The Tab reveal the extent of the University’s use of animals in experiments and testing has increased year on year.

In 2014/15, 67,236 animals were used and killed for testing purposes, with this figure going up 22.7 per cent during 2015/16.

As the University does not reuse animals, the total number of used animals recorded is the total number killed at the end of the procedure.

Zebrafish, important for the study of human gene functions, fared the worst and represented over 70 per cent of the animals killed in the research that year.

Mice suffered the second highest mortality rate, followed by birds as the third most targeted.

30 pigs were killed in 15/16. Pigs have often been found to be skilled, show empathy and learn from each other in groups by neuroscientists.

Rabbits, rats, gerbils and guppy fish make up the remaining figures.

In terms of the recorded actual severities and ‘harm’, 43,941 animals suffered a level of pain considered to be ‘sub-threshold’ in 2015.

1,925 animals suffered ‘severe’ harm and 522 were classed in the ‘non-recovery’ group, while 36,368 other animals made up the mild and moderate categories.

The licensed procedures fall within the areas of cardiovascular and oncology research, neuroscience, development biology, infection, immunity and behavioural science.

A spokesperson for the University of Sheffield said: “As part of our efforts to remain at the forefront of medical and scientific advances, which results in lifesaving treatment for people with chronic and degenerative diseases, we conduct limited research using animals.

“The University is currently undertaking more biomedical research as part of a drive to increase our UK and international standing as a centre of research excellence.

“This research contributes to ground breaking developments in understanding and treating major diseases such as cancer, deafness, heart disease Parkinson’s and other neurological conditions which devastate millions of lives every year.

“Wherever possible the University of Sheffield is committed to using species of the lowest neuro-physiological sensitivity and zebra fish are increasingly being used in pioneering research instead of mammals.

“Our scientists are fully committed to finding other alternatives to research which is currently dependent on animals.”

Frankie Forbes, Psychology third year, was particularly surprised by the findings, commenting: “This information is heartbreaking, I’ve never really thought about animal testing at uni before.

“The University has obviously got a reputation for providing great research, but I can’t help feel that this shouldn’t be at the expense of this number of animals.”

Laura Bell, English third year, added:“I’m so shocked at the sheer number of animals tested on, but at the same time I suppose you have to consider the huge medical advances we’ve made testing on animals.

“I completely disagree with testing for cosmetic reasons though.”

A number of big cosmetic brands, including MAC and Bobbi Brown, were revealed to still be using animal testing last month and you can view the full list here.