The University of Leicester tested on over 16,000 animals in 2017 alone, recent statistics show. A range of animals were used as part of these tests, which the University says it does for ‘biomedical research’. Moreover, the University stated it currently has no plans to halt animal testing on their premises. In this article, we take a look at the full breakdown of the statistics.
While it is commonplace for Universities to engage in animal tests, there has been a growing trend in recent years for institutions to cut down, or in some cases, abolish the practice. For instance, the nearby Loughborough University does not engage in animal tests. Clearly, the University of Leicester has not followed suit. The 2017 calendar year witnessed 16,430 animals being tested on. The normal practice is for these animals to be euthanised following any experiment.
The majority of animals tested on were mice – accounting for 70% of the tests. Rats were another popular animal to test on – with 11% of tests being undertaken on them. 1% of tests were done on rabbits. The remaining 18% were completed on fish. 14% of them were on Zebrafish, with 4% on Sticklebacks. This marked the first year in recent times that guinea pigs haven’t been used by the University for tests.
The University of Leicester stated in their response to a Freedom of Information request pertaining to animal testing that they undertake tests including ‘biomedical research involving breeding and holding of genetically modified and wild type animals, tissue harvesting after euthanasia and procedural work under regulated project licenses for research data’. The University also stated they had no plans to halt animal testing on University premises.
Animal testing is a controversial topic, which often produces fervent debate. The practice has been criticised heavily in recent times. Yet there is no doubting the advancements in medicine that have been forged due to research on animals. When a University does engage in these experiments however, it puts students in the difficult position of possibly inadvertently financing these experiments due to their tuition fees. Many are against animal testing, and would therefore be uneasy at this prospect.
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Animal testing is a very sensitive topic, which divides opinion considerably. The statistics released by the University of Leicester suggest the practice is a key part of the institution’s research. Animal tests continue to widespread across British Universities – despite campaigners urging for an end to such tests.