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. The Society supports both the essential use of animals in research and increased openness over such use. The Society's position statement on the use of animal in research can be found here.


Policy activities in this area

Concordat on Openness on Animal Research

In May 2014 the Society signed the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research. Since the launch of the Declaration on Openness in October 2012, The Society has been actively involved in the development of the Concordat. The Society fully supports the underlying theme of the Concordat, namely to provide the public greater opportunities to discover accurate information on the small but essential role that research using animals plays in advancing our insights into pressing issues of scientific, clinical and environmental importance.

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.

European Citizens’ Initiative – Stop Vivisection

The Stop Vivisection European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) called for “the European Commission to abrogate directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes and to present a new proposal that does away with animal experimentation”.

Under the Citizens’ Initiative programme, EU citizens can propose changes in legislation to the European Commission. To warrant formal attention from the Commission, the ECI must gain one million signatures across from at least seven member states. Stop Vivisection collected 1,173,130 signatures across 26 of the EU’s 28 member states. The majority are from Italy, where anti-animal research sentiment is high. It is the third citizens' initiative to receive a public hearing at the European Parliament, and took place on the 11 May 2015. Over 120 organisations—including The Physiological Society, other learned societies, patient groups and leading universities signed a joint statement supporting European Directive 2010/63/EU. For more information see here.

MP engagement

The Physiological Society view it as crucial to engage with policy-makers to help inform them about the realities of animal research. We would strongly encourage any Members who would like to show their MP around the laboratories they work in and explain why they use animals in research, to contact us and we will help in facilitating meetings.

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.