Facts and figures - MRC

Once a year, the Home Office releases the statistics on the numbers of procedures that have been completed during the previous year and the severity of those procedures.

The number of procedures carried out as part of research programmes in MRC-owned establishments reported to the Home Office in 2020 was 173,637. This is 6% of the total of 2.88 million scientific procedures reported to the Home Office for that year. The number of scientific procedures by species and severity (Severity categories are described in the annual statistics of scientific procedures on living animals Great Britain) can be found in the tables below. Breeding of genetically altered animals accounted for 54% of all procedures carried out.

Scientific procedures on living animals in MRC institutes, numbers by species, 2020
Species Number Percentage
All procedures 173,637 100
Mouse 173,401 >99
Rat 6 <1
Old world monkey (macaque) 54 <1
Fish 176 <1

 

Scientific procedures on living animals in MRC institutes, numbers by severity, 2020
Severity Number Percentage
All procedures 173,637 100
Sub-threshold 119,062 69
Non-recovery 1,433 1
Mild 38,722 22
Moderate 11,196 6
Severe – includes animals found dead 3, 224 2

Explanation of severity levels

Sub-threshold

When a procedure was authorised under a project licence but did not actually cause suffering above the threshold of regulation, i.e. was less than the level of pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm that is caused by inserting a hypodermic needle according to good veterinary practice.

Non-recovery

When the entire procedure was carried out under general anaesthesia without recovery.

Mild

Any pain or suffering experienced by an animal that was, at worst, only slight or transitory and minor so that the animal returns to its normal state within a short period of time.

Moderate

The procedure caused a significant and easily detectable disturbance to an animal’s normal state, but this was not life threatening. Most surgical procedures carried out under general anaesthesia and with good post-operative analgesia (i.e. pain relief) would be classed as moderate.

Severe – includes animals found dead

The procedure caused a major departure from the animal’s usual state of health and wellbeing. This would usually include long-term disease processes where assistance with normal activities such as feeding and drinking were required, or where significant deficits in behaviours/activities persist. It includes animals found dead unless an informed decision can be made that the animal did not suffer severely prior to death.

Last updated: 17 August 2021

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