Why Stop UBC Animal Research?

Every year, UBC conducts thousands of experiments on animals, including pigs, mice, cats, and monkeys among others. Many of the experiments are highly invasive and painful. Most is conducted with little public knowledge, oversight or scrutiny.

According to UBC student newspaper, the UBYSSEY, the university is one of the largest biomedical campuses in the country. Each year, UBC’s Animal “Care” Center (which houses and/or breeds animals to be used for research) supplies some 100,000 animals, including cats, pigs, mice, rabbits, rats, non-human primates, and other animals to dozens of UBC-affiliated research projects. UBC maintains over thirty such animal “care” facilities across its campus and throughout Vancouver.

In February, 2010, Stop UBC Animal Research was formed. We studied published papers by UBC researchers to learn details of what exactly is happening to animals on the UBC campus. What we learned was disturbing. We discovered that one UBC researcher has been experimenting on cats for over 30 years. In his papers, the researcher described how he cut open the backs of cats to expose their vertebrae, inserted titanium screws into their spines, and built restraint chambers around them so the cats would be fixed into a sitting position while researchers manipulated their spines.

Other studies saw researchers:

  • Administer electroconvulsive shock to monkeys to induce seizures
  • Pour a saline solution into newborn piglets’ lungs to induce respiratory failure
  • Capture wild songbirds, withdraw their blood, and decapitate some of the birds
  • Expose mice to cigarette smoke for up to six months in emphysema research
  • Blind monkeys for vision studies


The Canadian Council on Animal Care is the Canadian body charged with oversight of publicly funded research. It’s data shows that for its most recent year for which stats were reported and available (2013), over 3 million animals were used in research, teaching and testing. The UBC accounts for approximately 200,000 of these animals.

Despite UBC’s extensive animal research, the university and the CCAC have provided little information about UBC’s activities. So while much of the university’s research is conducted with taxpayer dollars, the public is kept largely in the dark about it.

Though the CCAC conducts assessments of UBC’s research to determine if UBC has adhered to voluntary guidelines, those assessments are secret. UBC has refused to release critical data or details of procedures used on animals. The university has even failed to comply with freedom of information law requirements. In short, there is little transparency at UBC, giving the impression the university doesn’t want the public to know what is happening to animals behind closed doors.

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