AMRC has developed a number of policies on animal research, three of which are mandatory requirements for all members. Overview guidance on implementing these policies can be downloaded here. Specific guidance on each policy is listed below.

Mandatory

  1. Publicly support our statement on the use of animals in research

All AMRC funders must support our position statement on the use of animals in research and must indicate so on their own websites. The statement sets out our support for research using animals where there is no alternative and where there is a clear link between the research and advancing the understanding of disease, preventing disease or developing potential treatments. We have provided some suggested wording to do this and although you don’t have to use these words specifically, they do offer one way to capture the essence of the message of our sector. If you wish, you could of course reproduce the statement directly on your website.

Related guidance documents: 

  1. Consider the 3Rs (replacement, refinement and reduction of animals in research) during peer review

We’ve made it clear that charities funding animal research should consider the 3Rs in their peer review processes. This means that you need to include questions on the 3Rs in your funding application forms and ask peer reviewers to consider the 3Rs as well as making sure they are briefed on the report ‘Responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research: Expectations of the major research council and charitable funding bodies’. You should also refer grant applications using animals under special protection (non-human primates, cats, dogs, equines) or raising any particular concerns to NC3Rs for additional peer review. Additional questions should be asked when funding animal research overseas.

Related guidance documents:

  1. Provide us with details on the use of animals in our annual data collection

It’s important that we have a good understanding of animal research funding practices across the sector so we have asked all AMRC members to provide three additional pieces of data for each grant reported annually:

  • Are animals protected under UK law used in this project?
  • Which animal species is used?
  • Are any of these animals genetically modified?

We produce an annual animal research briefing using these statistics.

Good practice

  1. You should consider updating your grant terms and conditions to promote the consideration of the 3Rs by potential applicants. In doing so, you should also include reference to the ARRIVE guidelines and the report ‘Responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research: Expectations of the major research council and charitable funding bodies’ for reporting research using animals.

Related Guidance Documents:

  1. AMRC has signed the Concordat on openness on animal research and we encourage funders to be open about research they fund that involves animals. It is good practice to do this in the scientific context of what the research has or hopes to achieve and it should be backed up with supporting material explaining why it’s required (e.g. there are no suitable non-animal alternatives). This helps to reassure supporters that this work is not undertaken lightly, and is only done when there are no alternatives.

Talking to the public about animal research

AMRC has signed the Concordat on openness on animal research and we encourage funders to be open about research they fund that involves animals. It is good practice to do this in the scientific context of what the research has or hopes to achieve and it should be backed up with supporting material explaining why it’s required (e.g. there are no suitable non-animal alternatives). This helps to reassure supporters that this work is not undertaken lightly, and is only done when there are no alternatives.

Since signing the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research, AMRC has been working with our members to ensure that charities can have open conversations about animal research.

Charities have contact with their supporters and the public in many different ways. They need to be able to explain how they are investing donations effectively and be equipped to answer any questions.

Whether our member charities fund research using animals or whether they focus funding on other areas of medical research, all AMRC members stand together. We all support the principle that animals can be used in medical research where it is necessary to advance understanding of serious health conditions and to develop better treatments and where there is no alternative means of finding out that information without using animals.

No charity decides to support this sort of research lightly and we understand that supporters, staff and the public want to know why and how these decisions are made.

People may have specific questions about research using animals: how and why the research is funded; what charities are doing to find alternatives; what conditions animals are kept in; how this research is regulated; what it helps us find out.

To help charities talk to the public about animal research we produced two guidance documents:

Where can I find out more about animal research in the UK?

Animal research is regulated by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. Additional policies and codes have been added since, including a recent update to bring the UK in line with a new European directive. The Animals in Science Regulatory Unit (ASRU), which is part of the Home Office, is responsible for ensuring that research using animals is conducted with the law. This includes granting licences to each project, person and place which will conduct animal research and performing site inspections to ensure compliance with regulation, including unannounced inspections. 

The home office publishes statistics on the number of animals used in research each year and access to non-technical summaries of each project.

Understanding Animal Research is a not-for-profit organisation supported by the bioscience community to provide information and educational materials about animal research.

The UK National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) is an independent science organisation which drives and funds innovation and technological developments that replace or reduce the need for animals in research and testing, and lead to improvements in welfare where animals continue to be used. Their website and news section contain information about the work they are funding and the impact this is having on the number of animals used in research and their welfare.

Testing cosmetics on animals in the UK has been banned since 1998.

Related Guidance Documents: