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Animal research

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.

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).

How we minimise the use of animals in research

We minimise the use of animals in our work as much as we can.

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.


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 years:


QMUL Number of Procedures 2022

  Mice Rats Fish Avian
Mild  7970  54  6935  387
Moderate  10155  234  0  0
Non Recovery   242  0  0  0
Severe   718  3  0  1
Sub-Threshold   17253  18  12758  0
Totals   36338  309  19693  388


Species Number of procedures in 2021
Mice 33,519
Rats 523
Fish 24,210
Mole rats 12
Total 58,264


SpeciesNumber of procedures in 2020
Mice 29,161
Rats 318
Fish 32,047
Mole rats 11
Total 61,537



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
Fish 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


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