Use of animals in research
Five of the UK's major funders of animal research have published common guidelines for using animals in research. The guidelines Responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research: Expectations of the major research council and charitable funding bodies apply to the use of vertebrate animals in bioscience research with the potential to cause animals harm. Compliance with the guidelines is a condition of funding for new grants involving the use of animals.
One requirement is that, when collaborating with laboratories outside the UK, researchers and their local ethics committees must check that welfare standards are consistent with the principles in UK legislation and the new guidelines. Any significant deviations will need prior approval from the funding body.
This is the first time that the MRC, BBSRC, NERC, Wellcome Trust and NC3Rs have collaborated to produce a common set of principles for using animals in research and applying the 3Rs (replacement, refinement and reduction). It reflects the growing multidisciplinarity of bioscience research in which scientists are often funded by several different bodies. The guidelines outline the legal controls on using animals in research in the UK and fill in the details on how the 3Rs should be applied.