DCU purchased rodents for scientific research

Brian Mahon

Previous reports in the national media however indicate the university spent €44,000 on mice, rats, chickens and rabbits for research into cancer, diabetes and other diseases from 2011-2013.

The university bought 1790 mice and rats between 2016 and 2017 for scientific research purposes, The College View has learned.

Mice took up the majority of the purchases with 1,296 of the 1,790 rodents. The other 494 were rats.

DCU also declined to provide the name of the supplier of the rodents stating; “the use of animals in scientific research is an emotive topic and there have been cases in the past where organisations that use animals for legitimate scientific purposes have been targeted by activists who have damaged premises and intimidated staff.”

When asked whether DCU staff have been threatened or attacked for carrying out research on animals, a spokesperson declined to comment.

“The use of animals for medical research in Ireland is governed by legislation… and is highly regulated by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA).

“DCU promote the principles of the 3Rs – Replacement, Reduction and Refinement – in terms of the use of animals for medical research and are subject to inspections by the HPRA to ensure we are complying with all relevant legislation,” the spokesperson added.

Speaking in response to the figures, Laura Broxson, from the National Animal Rights Association said; “we are 100 per cent against any animal testing, for any reason. Not only is it unethical, but it is scientifically flawed. You cannot predict how a pharmaceutical drug, for example, will react in a human body by testing it on a mouse or rat.”

Broxson also said she hadn’t heard of companies which used animals for research purposes being intimidated by animal rights activists.

However, she went on to say “it depends on the action – some people find peaceful, legitimate protests ‘intimidating’. I would need to know the context of the question more before commenting further.”

“I would also add that if they have to concoct stories to evoke sympathy, as a means to excuse the horrific things they are doing to animals, perhaps they should consider a different career,” she added.

DCU stated the purchase of animals is not centralised and as such claimed the cost of purchasing the animals was not ‘readily available’. It did, however, confirm there were at least 30 such purchases during this time period.

Previous reports in the national media, however, indicate the university spent €44,000 on mice, rats, chickens and rabbits for research into cancer, diabetes and other diseases from 2011-2013.

A 2016 policy document on the use of animals in research at the university states “Dublin City University considers that it is desirable to replace the use of live animals in procedures by other methods not entailing the use of live animals but recognises that, given the present state of scientific knowledge, the use of live animals continues to be necessary to protect human and animal health and the environment.”

The policy also notes that anyone who wants to use animals in their research must receive prior ethical approval from the University’s Research Ethics Committee.

The policy is up for review this year.

Brian Mahon

Image credit: Pixabay