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Our animals

Our Animals

We house many different species of animals at King’s College London, including mice, rats, fish, rabbits, guinea-pigs, amphibians, marmosets and snakes. The most common species are mice (~73% of our animals) and zebrafish (~23% of our animals), with other species making up ~4% of our animals. At King’s, we currently have the capacity to hold up to 40,000 mice and 50,000 zebrafish at any one time. A purpose-built, state of the art zebrafish facility was opened in 2013.

zebrafish

Every year, the Home Office publishes the number of animals that have been used for scientific procedures in the United Kingdom. At King’s College London, we are committed to being open about the animals we use for our research. The numbers that we publish reflect the total number of animals used during each calendar year, including those that have been used for scientific procedures, breeding purposes and those that have been humanely killed for tissue only.

Below are the figures for the numbers of animals used for scientific research and humanely killed at King’s College London from 2015 – 2018:

Animals used for scientific research and humanely killed 2015-2018

 Species 20152016201720182018*
 Amphibians 27  66 10 25 26
 Fish 40,944  38,479 32,387 33,365 33,711
 Guinea-pigs 290  328 276 0 0
 Marmosets 0 2 0 0 17
 Mice 128,251  111,408 102,710 93,539 22,431
 Rabbits 80  32 12 3 0
 Rats 5,704  4,746 4,284 4,253 513
 Reptiles 0 0 0 0 6
 Total

175,296

155,058

139,679

131,185

56,704

* Animals still housed in Biological Services on 31st December 2018.  These animals were either subject to on-going scientific studies or were being housed prior to use for research.

 

Animals used for scientific procedures: These are animals that have been used for experiments under the authority of a project licence. Only individuals with a personal licence are able to carry out these procedures. All genetically altered animals (inclusive of mice and zebra fish at King’s) are included in these numbers, even if they are used for breeding or for tissue only. Many of these genetically altered animals are assessed to have undergone mild or no suffering.

Animals used for breeding purposes: Some animals are housed at King’s for the sole purpose of breeding (mice, rats and fish). Healthy rodents are allowed to have up to 8 litters during their life span. All rodents used for breeding purposes are humanely killed after their final litter has been weaned.

Animals used for tissue only purposes: Animals that are used for tissue only purposes are housed at King’s, but are humanely killed without ever undergoing a scientific procedure. Tissues are collected from these animals and may be used for a variety of purposes from cell culture to isolated organ perfusions. Where possible, animals will be used for tissue only to reduce the number of live animals that undergo scientific procedures.

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