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Using animals in research and testing is a contentious issue. People frequently oppose as to whether they think animal experiments are necessary, useful or justified, and to what extent non-animal alternatives are available.


We consider that every area of animal use should be judged separately and that replace the use of animals with humane alternative must be the major goal.


Areas of animal use


Experiments on animals are carried out for many different purposes:


developing and testing medicines and vaccines for humans or animals


study how animals’ and humans’ bodies function


assessing the safety of chemicals, such as pesticides, for their potential effects on human health or the atmosphere.


What we think


We know that animals can familiarity pain and distress in experiments and that this can be severe. The way that animals are breed, transported, housed and handled may also cause pain. We take a positive, practical approach, liaising with people involved in animal use in government, trade and science to ensure that:


the need and justification for using animals is always seriously reviewed


the lot of possible is done to speed up the expansion of humane alternatives


every possible step is taken to reduce the numbers of animals used, and to considerably reduce their pain and improve their welfare.




It is expected that more than 100 million animals are used in experiments each year across the world. Attitudes to animals, and the legislation in place as regards their use and welfare, contrast broadly between countries.


In the UK, the use of animals in experiments is keeping up by the Animals Act 1986 – which is administered by the Animals in Science Regulation Unit of the Home Office. Under this law, all breeding and use of animals has to be carried out in accredited premises, the research itself has to be set out in a project licence application which is submitted to the Home Office for authorisation, and the people carrying out the research also have to be licensed.

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