Response to Home Office plans to reduce the number of animals used in research

In responding to the announcement Philip Wright, Chief Executive of The Physiological Society, said: “The focus that the Government is giving to the 3Rs must be supported."

The National Centre for Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) will lead the delivery of a new programme which will focus reducing the number of animals used. The programme will exploit the latest developments in science and technology; facilitate data sharing and collaboration across industry and academia and provide an evidence base for changes to international regulations which require animal use. It will also ensure that the 3Rs continue to be at the heart of the training of research leaders of the future.

In responding to the announcement Philip Wright, Chief Executive of The Physiological Society, said: “The focus that the Government is giving to the 3Rs must be supported. However we also must remember that the science of physiology, and many other biomedical sciences, depends on our understanding of the interactions of DNA, cells and organs within the body. And to this end the use of animals in research remains essential.

“The UK already has legislation that is amongst the strictest in the world, and if the Government is committed to maintaining the UK’s position as one of the world leaders it needs to tread carefully to avoid the UK becoming a less attractive place for biomedical research.

“The Government needs to be careful to not give out mixed messages to the UK and international research community. We need to retain our experts, continue to attract world renowned scientists and investment by industry, whilst also maintaining world class animal welfare.”

In delivering the programme, the NC3Rs will work with government departments and agencies, the research community, and others with relevant animal welfare interests.

Commenting on the new initiative, Home Office Minister Lynne Featherstone said: “We have one of the most stringent systems in the world to regulate animal procedures and ensure appropriately high standards of animal welfare are maintained. This government wants to take this further, and this is why we have committed to work to reduce the use of animals in scientific research.”