Working to reduce the use of animals in scientific research
Today, the government published its Delivery Report entitled “Working to reduce the use animals in scientific research”. This report is a conclusion to the Delivery plan published in February 2014. The original delivery plan set out three strategic aims:
· Advance the use of the 3Rs within the UK
· Use international leadership to influence the uptake and adoption of 3Rs approaches globally; and
· Promote an understanding and awareness of animals where no alternative exists.
Advancing the use of 3Rs in the UK
The NC3Rs, Research Councils and Innovate UK have funded £3million of business-led feasibility studies into Non-Animal Technologies (NATs). Innovate UK also are awarding up to £6million for collaborative R&D projects to develop and apply these NATs. NC3Rs, the research councils and Innovate UK plan to develop a roadmap for the commercialisation and adoption of new NAT products and services.
Influencing the uptake and adoption of 3Rs approaches globally
The government has supported the NC3Rs international initiative to develop, validate, spread and harmonise NATs involved in different stages of the testing process. One particular area the UK has been leading with is spreading non-animal alternatives for the testing of new cosmetics (testing cosmetics on animals was banned in the UK in 1998, and a ban on testing cosmetic ingredients across the EU came into force in 2013). Already, China has relaxed its requirements for animal data for domestically produced cosmetics, reducing the number of animals that will be used for this purpose.
Promoting an understanding and awareness about the use of animals where no alternatives exist
The Government is committed to promoting a culture of openness and transparency around the use of animals in scientific research. Openness is crucial to help people understand and challenge if they wish, the reasons for animal research where no validated alternative exists, and to demonstrate more widely the many safeguards in place to minimise suffering.
The government supports the Concordat on Openness on Animals in Research, an initiative led by Understanding Animal Research and signed by 90 signatories (to date). The Concordat has worked to encourage and support greater openness among its signatories. The Delivery report notes the new websites and outreach activities by Universities including UCL, University of Cambridge, University of Bristol and Cardiff University. A report by the Concordat is due in June 2015.
The Government is also working with research institutions to reform Section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act, which prevents institutions from detailing their animal research in certain situations.
Read the whole Delivery Report here.