UK government doubles funding for the 3Rs

Posted: by UAR News on 5/04/24

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UK government doubles funding for the 3Rs

Funding for the 3Rs will double to £20 million in 2024–25 according to a statement from Andrew Griffith MP, Minister for Science, Research and Innovation made during the Westminster Hall debate on 19 February. 

The government will publish a plan this summer to accelerate the development, validation and uptake of technologies and methods to reduce reliance on the use of animals in science. Other initiatives announced include a hike in fees for licences, a review of five-year licences with a view to making them shorter in duration, and the restart of the Ipsos MORI survey on public attitudes to animals in science. 

The Westminster Hall debate considered two e-petitions, ‘End the use of animals for toxicity tests & prioritise non-animal methods (NAMs)’, and ‘Ban the use of dogs for testing and research purposes in the UK’. Both Labour and government representatives acknowledged the complexity of balancing our desire to find better ways to treat cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and many other conditions with the ambition to reduce the use of animals in research.  

Despite attempts by activists to pressure politicians with misinformation and celebrity endorsements towards abolitionist policies that would be detrimental to the UK life-sciences and the fight against human and animal disease, the key contributors acknowledged that animals remain an essential part of medical research and recognised the scale of the task of developing and applying new approach methodologies. 

Ahead of the debate, UAR briefed the minister and the Labour health policy team as well as supplying technical information to the civil service and our stakeholders. Chris Magee, UAR Head of Policy and Media wrote an article for in defence of animal testing which explains how the safety and efficacy of biomedical research still depends on animal testing, though scientists are continuing to develop new technologies that can reduce the number of animals used. 

We are delighted that the government has pledged to double funding for the 3Rs and will be publishing a plan to support the phasing in of more non-animal research methods. We have long argued that providing more funding for the 3Rs via the NC3Rs is the way forward if the UK is to be a world leader in discovering, developing, and validating new ways of carrying out medical and scientific research that reduce our reliance on animals. While it is unlikely that we will be able to replace all use of animals in science, new non-animal methods should help to reduce the numbers needed for some areas of research. 

Debate transcript 

Debate video 

NC3Rs article on the debate and their work 

Last edited: 5 April 2024 14:53

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