University reaffirms commitment to greater openness about animal research

  • Animal research contributes to ground breaking developments in understanding and treating major diseases such as cancer, deafness, heart disease and Parkinson’s which devaste millions of lives every year
  • The University of Sheffield is committed to the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research and the ‘3Rs’ of replacement reduction and refinement
  • The Bateson Centre at the University of Sheffield is home to more than 50,000 zebrafish

Zebrafish

The University of Sheffield has reaffirmed its commitment to greater openness about animal research as one of 10 world-leading UK universities to publish their research figures today (20 November 2018).

The new figures, published by Understanding Animal Research, show that the 10 institutions collectively conducted over one third of all UK animal research in 2017*.

The 10 universities conducted 1.32 million procedures accounting for 35 per cent of the 3.79 million procedures conducted in Great Britain in 2017.

Over 99 per cent of these were carried out on rodents or fish and, in line with national data, they were almost evenly split between experimental work and the breeding of genetically modified animals.

This is the third year in a row that universities have come together to publicise their collective numbers and examples of their research.

The University of Sheffield is committed to the ‘3Rs’ of replacement, reduction and refinement. This means avoiding or replacing the use of animals where possible; minimising the number of animals used per experiment; and optimising the experience of the animals to improve animal welfare.

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.

Professor Dave Petley, university of sheffield

All 10 universities are also signatories to the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK - a commitment to be more open about the use of animals in scientific, medical and veterinary research.

The staff at the University of Sheffield’s Bateson Centre have delivered more than 80 different outreach and widening participation events for children, young people and adults over the past 10 years to help raise awareness of the University’s animal research.

Visits to the Bateson Centre, which houses more than 50,000 zebrafish, give youngsters aunique opportunity to take part in a number of fascinating and hands-on events, including anatomy lessons and an insight into genetic engineering and fluorescent microscopy.

Balancing science and clinical science they give members of the public a chance to ask questions and delve into the pioneering research conducted by leading scientists at the University of Sheffield.

In 2016 a number of Sheffield’s street artists were invited to come and meet the zebrafish and produce a piece of inspired art. These were then displayed across the city as part of Fesitval of the Mind, helping to spread awareness about the importance of animal research to more than 50,000 people.

Professor Dave Petley, Vice-President for Research and Innovation at the University of Sheffield, said: “As part of our efforts to remain at the forefront of medical and scientific advances, which result in lifesaving treatment for people with chronic and degenerative diseases, we conduct a limited amount of research using animals.

“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, such as zebrafish, and our scientists are fully committed to finding other alternatives to research which is currently dependent on animals."

  • Four million people in the UK are currently living with a heart condition (NHS.UK)
  • 350,000 people are living with cancer (Cancer Research UK)
  • 850,000 people are living with dementia (Alzheimer's Society)
  • 110,000 people have a stroke each year (NHS.UK)

Wendy Jarrett, Chief Executive of Understanding Animal Research, which developed the Concordat on Openness, said: “The Concordat has fostered a culture of openness at research institutions up and down the country. Institutions now provide an unprecedented level of information about how and why they conduct medical, veterinary and scientific research using animals.

“Almost two-thirds of the university Concordat signatories provide their animal numbers openly on their websites – accounting for almost 90 per cent of all animal research at UK universities.”

Additional information

The Bateson Centre

Understanding Animal Research

*The Home Office recorded 3.79 million completed procedures in 2017, 1.32 million of which were carried out at the top ten universities. A total of 1.90 million procedures were carried out across all universities in 2017, representing half of all procedures in Great Britain.

The University of Sheffield
With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2018 and for the last eight years has been ranked in the top five UK universities for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.
Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

Contact

For further information please visit:

Amy Huxtable
Media Relations Officer
The University of Sheffield
0114 222 9859
a.l.huxtable@sheffield.ac.uk