Ten organisations account for half of all animal research in Great Britain in 2021

Understanding Animal Research (UAR), an organisation that promotes open communications about animal research, has today (30 June 2022) published a list of the ten organisations that carry out the highest number of animal procedures – those used in medical, veterinary, and scientific research – in Great Britain. These statistics are freely available on the organisations’ websites, including the University of Glasgow, as part of their ongoing commitment to transparency and openness around the use of animals in research.

This list coincides with the publication of the Home Office’s report on the statistics of scientific procedures on living animals in Great Britain in 2021.

These ten organisations carried out 1,496,006 procedures, 49% or nearly half of the 3,056,243 procedures carried out on animals for scientific research in Great Britain in 2021*. Of these 1,496,006 procedures, more than 99% were carried out on mice, fish and rats and 83% were classified as causing a similar level of pain, or less, as an injection.

The ten organisations are listed below alongside the total number of procedures they carried out in 2021. This is the seventh consecutive year that organisations have come together to publicise their collective statistics and examples of their research.


Number of Procedures (2021)

University of Oxford


University of Cambridge




The Francis Crick Institute


University of Edinburgh


Medical Research Council


King's College London


University of Glasgow


University of Manchester


Imperial College London




63 organisations have published their 2021 animal research statistics

UAR has also produced a list of 63 organisations in the UK that have publicly shared their 2021 animal research statistics. This includes organisations that carry out and/or fund animal research.

All organisations are 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. However, as institutions expand and conduct more research, the total number of animals used can rise even if fewer animals are used per study. 

All organisations listed are 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 in the UK. More than 125 organisations have signed the Concordat including UK universities, medical research charities, research funders, learned societies and commercial research organisations.

Wendy Jarrett, Chief Executive of Understanding Animal Research, which developed the Concordat on Openness, said:

“Animal research remains a small but vital part of the quest for new medicines, vaccines and treatments for humans and animals. We know that the majority of the British public accepts that animals are needed for this research, but it is important that organisations that use animals in research maintain the public’s trust in them.  By providing this level of information about the numbers of animals used, and the experience of those animals, as well as details of the medical breakthroughs that derive from this research, these Concordat signatories are helping the public to make up their own minds about how they feel about the use of animals in scientific research in Great Britain.”

David Duncan, University of Glasgow Deputy Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer:

“Research using animals makes a vital contribution to the understanding, treatment and cure of a range of major diseases in humans, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. Animals are used in research only where it is essential. While the University is committed to the development of alternative methods – such as computer modelling, tissue culture, cell and molecular biology, and research with human material – some work involving animals must continue for further advances to be made. The University is committed to the principles of reduction, refinement, and replacement. All research undertaken on animals is conducted under strict ethical and welfare guidelines, under licence by the Home Office.”

University of Glasgow Case Study

The University of Glasgow, along with collaborators at the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, have a world-leading reputation for translational cancer research. A recent study, published in Cell Death and Differentiation and led by Prof Stephen Tait, investigated targeting glioblastoma tumour cells – the most common form of brain cancer, that has few therapeutic options – with new drugs called BH3-mimetics, which directly target cell death. By using mouse models alongside patient material, the study demonstrated that two types of BHS-mimetics are particularly effective in glioblastoma and, importantly, by applying them sequentially, showed improved survival in mouse models without toxic side effects. The team behind the study hopes to explore these drugs further, as a potential new therapeutic approach for glioblastoma.

First published: 30 June 2022