Statements and Press Releases
Latest press release
Purpose-built University of Leicester centre will develop new techniques for fighting disease and treating patients
Statement issued 29 April 2010
The University of Leicester is investing £15m in replacing existing research facilities with the erection of a biomedical research centre. This will house space for medical research, including laboratories and an MRI machine, and a portion of the space will be used for biomedical research using rodents.
There is no truth in allegations that the biomedical research facility houses - or will house - beagle dogs, or any dogs. The University has never housed primates. The allotted space is being created for the purposes of primarily holding rodents (rats and mice). Dogs or Primates are not housed anywhere within the University.
The biomedical centre will create purpose-built space for researchers, as well as dedicated facilities which will ensure that any biomedical research on rodents can be conducted in an improved environment for staff and animals.
The building of this facility represents further investment in research supporting medical advancement which continues to make a vital contribution to the understanding, treatment and cure of a range of health problems and diseases including cancer, heart diseases, meningitis, diabetes and kidney diseases.
Leicester is committed to conducting biomedical research without the use of animals. Research involving animals is carried out only in situations where there is no alternative. The overwhelming majority of this research is carried out using non-animal methods and materials.
The University supports the view that good science is humane science. The scientists, technicians and veterinarians involved with the animals on a daily basis operate within strict ethical codes under a dedicated culture of care for all animals within the University.
Discussions about the use of animals occur regularly during ethical review processes and we continue to welcome approaches to discuss our work from independent outside organisations.
You can read about the University’s policy on research involving animals at:
- Building work on the biomedical research facility is due for completion mid 2011.
- Funding for the new building comes from a variety of sources including the University’s own resources, Government funding and the Wellcome Trust.
- The University is committed to the principles of reduction, refinement and replacement. It ensures that the number of animals used is minimised.
- The University’s use of animals is scrutinised by an ethical review process which includes lay representation (including members external to the University). This is a legal requirement.
- Scientists, technicians and veterinarians who deal with the animals on a daily basis care about the well-being of animals. All staff involved in animal research are trained to standards which are approved by recognised professional bodies and which adhere to national standards. Veterinary surgeons are available at all times for advice and help on the welfare of animals and the conduct of research.
- The animal facilities comply with all national laws, guidelines and codes of conduct and the University regards these standards as a minimum. Home Office Inspectors visit regularly, usually unannounced, to check that the projects and the animal care facilities meet statutory requirements.
Ten Ways in Which Animal Research has Contributed to Medical Advances
- Blood transfusion
- First medicine for tuberculosis
- Meningitis vaccine
- Kidney transplants
- Breast cancer
- Inhalers for asthma
- Surgical treatment for macular degeneration
- Insulin for diabetics
- Surgical treatment for Parkinson’s disease
For more information on the benefits of animal research see:
When was the decision announced?
The building was part of the University masterplan announced in 2002 and part of the Development Framework Plan announced in 2008. We consulted with staff across the College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology and with research groups that will use the facility in 2009 before the proposal was put before the planning authorities. A model of the expanding campus –including the biomedical research facility – is on public display in the foyer of a central public building on campus. Construction work started in late 2009 and is due for completion in mid 2011. Members of the University’s Governing body were informed and consultation work has also been undertaken with members of the public. A publicly available policy statement on our use of animals has been available for a number of years on our website: http://www2.le.ac.uk/staff/policy/codes-of-practice-and-policy/research/statement
Is it intended that the centre is modeled on the Oxford one in that it will be a centralized facility for various university departments?
The biomedical research facility will partly house rodents and the remainder is for medical research and will house, amongst other facilities, an MRI machine. It will replace existing facilities for animals in separate locations on campus in one purpose-built facility. It will be used by researchers from different academic departments.
This statement was amended on 6 May 2010 and 7 June 2010 to clarify the University's position.