Skip to main content
OW3 Research

Animal research at Queen Mary

Animal research forms a small but essential part of the work undertaken at Queen Mary. It enables our researchers to make medical advances in areas such as cancer research, heart disease, and transplantation medicine. We only undertake such research when there are no non-animal alternatives available.

Why we use animals in research

It’s a legal requirement in the UK that all medicines must be tested in at least two species of live animals before they are used in humans. We only use animals in research when it is absolutely essential and there is no other alternative available.

How we care for our animals

Queen Mary is committed to the highest standards of animal welfare. We do our utmost to ensure that our animals live in a healthy, stimulating environment and our staff undertake stringent checks each day to make sure our animals receive the best possible care.

Regulation and ethics

The use of animals in research is very carefully regulated.

Any research facility that wants to undertake animal research in the UK must also apply to the Home Office for a licence and must have an Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Board (AWERB) to oversee the application of that licence.

Permission to use animals in procedures is only granted if researchers make a successful application to their institution’s Animal Welfare & Ethical Review Body (AWERB).

Research that involves animals remains a vitally important tool for making advances in our understanding of human and animal health and for improving ways of preventing and treating disease.
— Dr Rob Bennett, Establishment Licence Holder

How we minimise the use of animals in research

Queen Mary is committed to reducing, refining and replacing the use of animals in its research. We value the integrity of our research as highly as its outcomes and are signatories to the ARRIVE and PREPARE guidelines.

How we share information about our animal research

We set ourselves the highest ethical standards. Some of our work involves working with animals when there is no other alternative. We believe it is important to be open and transparent about this work.

Frequently asked questions

There are a lot of questions asked about the use of animals in research – and a lot of misconceptions. 


As Dean for Research at Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry, I know how important animals are in helping us to find better ways of preventing and treating the diseases that occur in both humans and animals.”
— Professor Mauro Perretti, Dean for Research and Research Impact

Number of animals used in research

Every licence-holding research facility has to send the Home Office annual returns of how animals are used in its research. Below, you can see the returns we’ve sent over the past five years:


SpeciesNumber of procedures in 2019
Mice 34,962
Rats 399
Birds 19
Fish 12,911
Total 48,291



SpeciesNumber of procedures in 2018
Mice 28,845
Rats 260
Birds 6,630
Total 35,735



SpeciesNumber of procedures in 2017
Mice 34,591
Rats 482
Birds 10
Fish 5,338
Total 40,421



SpeciesNumber of procedures in 2016
Mice 32,628
Rats 608
Birds 184
Fish 7,114
Total 40,534



SpeciesNumber of procedures in 2015
Mice 37,588
Rats 1,232
Birds 49
Fish 3,355
Total 42,224


Back to top