Updated: September 2020

Medical research charities are dedicated to improving patient lives and outcomes through high quality research to better understand and treat disease. To achieve this, many types of research methods are harnessed in AMRC charity strategies. These include clinical trials, use of tissues samples, computer models and, when appropriate, animals. All approaches, including research using animals, play a vital role in the medical research process.

Whilst not all AMRC members fund research using animals as part of their strategy, they all support the principle of using animals in research when necessary, to advance understanding and treatment of serious health conditions, where there is no alternative that can be used.

No AMRC charity takes the decision to fund animal research lightly. All AMRC members are committed to undertaking high quality animal research that is well-designed, uses rigorous expert review, is well-reported, and ethically justified.

High standards of animal welfare – including housing conditions, well-trained animal technologists – are vital to AMRC and our members. These minimise discomfort for animals and enable researchers to get reliable results. AMRC work with our members to share best practice and ensure they can exceed the regulatory requirements to improve animal welfare and science.

AMRC and its members are committed to the 3Rs of reduction, replacement and refinement, as basic principles of humane animal research[1]. We expect our members to actively employ these to improve animal welfare. Research funded outside of the UK must be carried out in the spirit of UK legislation as well as being compliant with all local legislation and ethical review processes.

AMRC are committed to openness and transparency around the use of animals in research. AMRC members recognise that not everybody is comfortable with the use of animals in research. They work together through AMRC to continually review their funding practices and engage with the wider scientific community to encourage better practice and development of animal alternatives.

This statement was originally published in January 2014. It was updated in September 2020.

For further guidance and information on animal research visit this page.

[1] 3Rs to refine, reduce and replace the use of animals in research