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Animal Research Position

Humans share around 90% of their genes with all other mammals, because of this animal research has been used to discover how the basic processes of the body work and how these can go wrong when the body is affected by disease. This knowledge is vital if we are to develop treatments for illnesses affecting humans or animals. Animals also benefit from this research, through the development of veterinary medicines and procedures.

The creation of penicillin, blood transfusions, organ transplants and the administration of insulin to combat Diabetes have all come from research involving animals. There have been huge breakthroughs in the treatment for many illnesses thanks to animal research – Asthma, HIV, Meningitis, Cancer and Parkinson’s to name a few. More information on these advancements can be found here. Every human around the world has benefitted from animal research in one way or another, even down to taking something as simple as paracetamol for pain relief – just one of the many drugs that have been developed with the help of research.

It is reported that animals have been used in scientific research since as early as 300 BC. However, the 20th century is when research really began to make an impact on society. Take a look at the timeline below* to see a small sample of the breakthroughs that have occurred since the 1900’s.

*All facts and information taken from here.

Facts on animal research

  1. All research involving animals in the United Kingdom is licensed by the Home Office
  2. Less than 10 per cent of biomedical research uses animals.
  3. The testing of cosmetic products and their ingredients on animals has been illegal in the UK since  1998 and across the EU since 2013.
  4. 116 UK organisations have signed the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research. Meaning that we are all committed to the cause of educating and helping the UK public to understand more about animal research.

Animals used in scientific research

Fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals, are protected under UK law, because of this, licences are needed to carry out research on these animals. Genetically modified animals (mostly mice) now make up over half of the animals used in research. Larger animals such as pigs, dogs and monkeys, account for less than 2% of the animals used in research.

Here are some videos that explain animal research in further detail

Agenda’s position on research

Agenda Life Sciences supports the research community through the provision of services aimed at facilitating research. Agenda Life Sciences believes that whilst animal research continues to make a valuable contribution to scientific understanding and the development of medical treatments, the animals should be treated with dignity and respect at all times.

Agenda Life Sciences fully supports the Reduction, Refinement and Replacement of the use of animals in research. Until viable alternatives to animals are available for all areas of research, the animals should be cared for by dedicated, professional and well-trained individuals who care passionately about animal care and welfare.

Animal welfare is a priority, but so also is the welfare of the dedicated people working with the animals and also the welfare of the life science sector itself. Our ‘Welfare First’ programme is designed to consistently deliver standards of animal care and welfare that exceeds regulatory requirements. It puts in place the building blocks that underpin effective care and welfare; it is Agenda’s assertion that caring for the people that care for the animals in turn supports and nurtures a culture of care within the life science sector.

Important links/resources