Animal welfare, regulation and the 3Rs

In recent years there have been huge advances in the use of computer models, artificial intelligence and non-animal testing within drug discovery.  However, the use of animals is still a necessity for the development of new medicines.  Every new medicine is tested in animals at some point during its development so that it can be evaluated within the context of a whole organism’s physiology before it can be progressed to clinical studies in humans.

As for all UK-based organisations, our work programmes are licenced and approved by the Home Office who carry out a ‘cost-benefit’ analysis to ensure that the use of animals, and the way they’re used is justified.  Animal use in research is regulated by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (amended in 2012), which fulfills the European Directive 2010/63/EU.

Our work is also reviewed by a local ‘Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body’, which includes lay people, to ensure we maintain the highest possible standards of animal welfare and ethics, with particular emphasis on the ‘3Rs’:

1. Replacement

All other non-animal or new approach methodologies must have been investigated prior to any animal for use in research.

2. Reduction

Experiments are carried out on as few animals as possible.

3. Refinement

Experiments are designed to minimise any pain and suffering.

Saretius undergoes animal welfare inspections by the Home Office, vets and a ‘named animal care and welfare officer’. 

These numerous controls and regulations are some of the strictest in the world and are under continual review.  As a result of these controls, the UK is a leader in animal welfare within biological research.