The use of animals in research


Reviewed: July 2024

AMRC requires members to support the use of animals in research and transparency around this.  This page provided advice and guidance on how to meet these parts of AMRC member requirements.

  1. AMRC’s position statement on the use of animals in research and how members must publicly support it.
  2. Reporting grants funded involving the use of animals to AMRC as part of the annual data return

Finally, we provide guidance on how to communicate transparently about the involvement of animals in research.

Publicly support AMRC’s statement on the use of animals in research

Whether our member charities fund research involving animals or not, all AMRC charities support the principle of using animals in research where it is necessary to advance understanding and treatment of serious health conditions and where no alternative can be used.

All AMRC members support our position statement on the use of animals in research. To increase transparency and demonstrate unity, it is a requirement of AMRC membership to publish a position statement supporting this principle on their website.

Charities can choose any wording, but we’ve provided some examples below that members are welcome to use. 

For members who fund, have funded, or would consider funding research involving animals:

[NAME] is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC). We support the principle of using animals in research when it is necessary to advance understanding of health and disease and to develop new treatments. This research only takes place where there is no alternative available. All AMRC member charities support this principle, as outlined in this statement. [Link to AMRC statement on the use of animals in research or display below]

For members who do not fund research involving animals, because it is not a part of their research strategy:

Our research strategy is to focus on [INSERT] and so we do not currently fund research using animals. However, as a member of AMRC we support the principle of using animals in research when it is necessary to advance understanding of health and disease and to develop new treatments. This research only takes place where there is no alternative available.

All AMRC member charities support this principle, as outlined in this statement. [Link to AMRC statement on the use of animals in research or display below]

Provide AMRC with data on the use of animals in research

All AMRC members must provide data on the use of animals in the research they fund. This is collected through an annual data collection, asking for each grant:

  1. Does the grant involve animals protected under UK law?
  2. Which animal species are used (including non-protected species such as flies)?
  3. Are any animals genetically modified?

Charities should capture this information through their application process to ensure it can be reported to AMRC.

As part of our commitment to openness on animal research AMRC produces an annual animal research briefing which outlines the number of grants funded by our member charities that involve animals and provides a breakdown of the types of animals used.

How to communicate about the involvement of animals in research

AMRC encourages our member charities to be open and transparent about the use of animals in the research that they fund.

To achieve this:

Share publicly details on...

  • The species and numbers (or proportions) of any animals involved in your research as well as the proportion and value of grants awarded that fund research involving animals. 

  • The benefits, harms, and limitations of the involvement of animals in research when communicating about this work.

    • Be realistic and open about the ethical considerations involved. This includes the potential impact for patients and on animal welfare: not only on the animals involved in the research, but also the animals who may stand to benefit from it. Remember that the results of human medical research also inform and improve clinical veterinary practice and result in the production of veterinary medicines.

  • The use of animals in research through a dedicated FAQ/myth buster section/page to inform and empower the public to support research which benefits them. 

Provide updates about research involving animals on your relevant webpages and social media where possible

  • Use lay abstracts to explain how animals were used, what the research has or hopes to achieve and use supporting materials to explain why the use of animals was/is required (e.g. there are no suitable non-animal alternatives). This helps to reassure people that research using animals is only approved where there are no alternatives and there is a justifiable need for the research to be undertaken.

  • Share images and films, where possible, to show how animals are used and their housing. 

  • Include information about the role of animals in research that leads to a scientific advancement or medical intervention.

  • When mentioning research involving animals in press releases follow the Academy of Medical Sciences labelling system.

Communicate with and support staff

  • Ensure that staff are aware of the organisation’s involvement with or support for the use of animals in research and why this position is taken. 

  • Actively support information sharing between your researchers and communications staff through processes and organisational structures. 

  • Mention that your organisation funds research involving animals during staff recruitment, ideally at interviews for all staff. 

  • Offer, if possible, an animal facility tour to all staff, including those not involved in research. 

  • Communicate to staff how the charity enforces the implementation of the 3Rs through your expert review processes and terms and conditions. 

  • Provide training for staff on how to respond to enquiries from the public about the involvement of animals in research. 

Communicate with and support researchers

  • Ensure recipients of funding are made aware of the charities’ commitments to transparency on the involvement of animals in research. 

  • Provide guidelines to support researchers and others in planning public engagement events around the involvement of animals in research. 

When partnering with other organisations

  • Include expectations of how research involving animals should be transparently communicated, including to the media.

Consider becoming a signatory of the Concordat on openness on animal research.

  • Currently AMRC and 17 AMRC members and supporters are signatories of the concordat. 

Further resources for communicating about research involving animals include:

  • This blog by Bella Lear to ‘top 10 tips for speaking about Animal Research’ supports charities in communicating transparently.

  • This leaflet to help charity staff answer the most common questions on the involvement of animals in research.

  • This guide, produced in conjunction with UAR, to help charity staff discuss animal research with the public. This accompanying blog provides more details on how charities can and do communicate about research involving animals.

  • The ‘Come See Our World’ website produced by Americans for Medical Progress explains how and why different species are used in research, provides images and videos of their living environments and explores their contributions to research.