Animals in research

The fundamental research carried out by the Members of The Physiological Society, that underpins many biological and clinical sciences, often requires the experimental use of animals. This research is bound by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and carried out in accordance with the 3R's - the replacement, reduction and refinement of the use of animals.

There are a number of policy issues related to the use of animals in experimentation including:

  • Animal usage statistics and the 3R’s
  • Transposition of EU Directive 2010/63 which will replace ASPA (1986)
  • Better regulation.


Policy activities in this area

Declaration of openness on animal research

In October 2012, the Physiological Society alongside over 40 other organisations involved with bioscience in the UK signed a declaration on openness on animal research. The signatories are committed to developing a Concordat setting out how we would be more open about the ways in which animals are used in scientific, medical and veterinary research in the UK. Further information on the declaration and concordat can be found here.

ARRIVE (Animal Research: Reporting In Vivo Experiments) guidelines

The Society and its journals endorse the use of the ARRIVE (Animal Research: Reporting In Vivo Experiments) guidelines, which have been developed to ensure that research publications present sufficient levels of information to enable data from animal research to be fully evaluated and utilised. Further information on the ARRIVE guidelines can be found here.

Transposition of EU Directive 2010/63

The European Directive 2010/63 on the ‘Protection of Animals in Scientific Experimentation’ will come into force on 1 Jan 2013 and will supersede ASPA (1986). The United Kingdom is required to ensure laws are in place covering the provisions of the new EU Directive by 10 November 2012.

This is of direct relevance to Members of The Society, and as such, The Society responded to a Home Office consultation on how to transpose this EU Directive into UK law.

MP engagement scheme

The Physiological Society view it as crucial to engage with policy-makers to help inform them about the realities of animal research - especially given the upcoming transposition of the EU Directive. As such, with support from Understanding Animal Research, we have initiated an MP Engagement Scheme with Understanding Animal Research. We're looking for many of our Members to get involved, and show their MP around the laboratories they work in and to explain their research. Please contact us if this is something you would be able to help us with. 

Home Office consultation

The Society responded to a Home Office consultation on how to transpose EU Directive 2010/63 into UK law. Members of our Policy Committee worked with the UK Bioscience Sector Coalition, producing a response fully endorsed by The Society. Click here for the Society response as part of the UK Bioscience Sector Coalition response. 

The Society also submitted its own response, which can be found here.