Press release: Results of the Big Animal Research

Students vote not to ban animal research 

With over 30 universities involved, and more than a thousand votes counted, university students this week defeated the motion that ‘This House would ban all forms of animal research.’  The debates, which took place between 14 - 17 October, coincided with National Biology Week and were held at universities in the UK, the USA and the Republic of Ireland.

Of the 24 university debating societies that have already declared their results, every society voted to reject the motion to ban animal research. Nonetheless, approximately 1 in 5 students voted in support of a ban on animal research. This amounted to 267 votes (of 1,430 votes).

Full results can be found here:

Many debates, including those at the University College London, University of Nottingham, University of Liverpool and Imperial College London, were streamed live over the internet to allow the general public to hear views for and against animal research.

The debates aimed to foster greater transparency and understanding and allow students and the wider public to come to an informed decision on this disputed issue. Those involved included some of the world’s leading university debaters as well as guest speakers on both sides of the argument involved in the wider discussion on animal rights and animal research.  Many schools from across the UK also participated during the week with results still coming in.

Vicky Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research, said:

We wholeheartedly support the Big Animal Research Debate as a positive step towards transparency and openness on this issue.

The event has been organised by the International Debate Education Association (IDEA) UK in partnership with the non-profit organisation, Understanding Animal Research. It has been endorsed by MPs, medical research charities and advocacy organisations involved in policy making, science education, medical and biological research, and the search for alternatives to the use of animals in scientific research. These endorsements can be found on

Alexander Cavell, Debate Programmes Coordinator for IDEA UK said:

IDEA is delighted that so many young people from the international debating community have been able to come together to try and deepen public understanding of the facts and theories at the core of this contentious topic. The debaters framed their cases carefully, and their arguments on the scientific and moral issues touched on by the motion were sensitive while also being accessible and engaging.

Wendy Jarrett, CEO for Understanding Animal Research said:

The debates were a fantastic chance for many students to be introduced to this difficult issue. I hope many will take the time to research the subject further and reflect on what they heard during the debates.


Notes for Editors

For further information:
Tom Holder, Understanding Animal Research // +44 (0)203 675 1235 // +44 (0)7802 482994

Marcin Zaleski , IDEA UK Executive Director // +44 (0)20 3393 7223 // +44 (0)7885237108

From 24 societies which have declared:

  • Each society had more votes to oppose the motion than in support of it.
  • 267 votes overall supporting the motion, 1,072 votes overall opposing the motion, 91 abstentions overall
  • The most up to date results can be read here:
  • A second media release will be provided when all 31 results are in.

Which universities participated

14 October - University of Sheffield, University of Hull, King’s College London, University College London and James Madison University, U.S.A.

15 October - University of Liverpool, University of Kent, Staffordshire University, University of Stirling, University of Nottingham, Aberystwyth University and Trinity College Dublin

16 October - Lincoln’s Inn, University of Warwick and University of Dundee

17 October - University of Cambridge, New College of the Humanities, University of Manchester, Newcastle University, University of Oxford, University of Westminster, London School of Economics, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Swansea, Queen’s University Belfast, University of Southampton, University of Glasgow, Imperial College London and University of Essex.

18 October ­- University of Durham and University of East Anglia (these are the only universities participating outside of the 4-day period)

The universities participating include seven of the top ten in the 2014 The Times Good University Guide League Table

About IDEA
The International Debate Education Association (IDEA) is the world’s leading provider of debate education, providing resources, training and events to hundreds of thousands of educators and young people every month.

IDEA works with schools and universities, debate organisations and community groups and partners with foundations, NGOs, businesses and governments. It has offices in Belgium, Kyrgyzstan, the Netherlands, Macedonia, Mexico, the UK and the USA.

About Understanding Animal Research
Understanding Animal Research is a non-profit organisation that distributes accurate information about the use of animals in medical, veterinary and scientific research and promotes greater openness among universities and organisations using animal models.


PDF icon Big Animal Research Debate Results.pdf338.48 KB