Use of Animals in Biomedical Research

A Vital Contribution

  • Research using animals has made, and continues to make, a vital contribution to the understanding, treatment and cure of a range of major 21st century metabolic and infectious diseases in humans and animals. Biomedical research involving the use of animals at the University of Strathclyde is carried out under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. The Act lays down strict guidelines and requires the licensing of research projects, the licensing of buildings in which they are carried out, and the licensing of the individuals conducting the work (you can find more information on the Act).
  • While new methods have enabled scientists and medical researchers to reduce work involving animals, some work must continue for further fundamental advances to be made.
  • The University of Strathclyde only uses animals in research programmes of the highest quality. All such work is carried out under licences issued by the Home Secretary after weighing its potential benefits against the effects on the animals concerned. Scientists' work must also be based on a clear set of principles:
    • To use the minimum number of animals (Reduction)
    • To use alternatives wherever possible (Replacement)
    • To strive for the highest possible standard of animal care, use and welfare (Refinement)

These principles and other aspects of their work are examined by a Local Ethical Review Panel, which oversees all experimental work involving animals at the University. Members of the Panel include lay representatives, scientists, animal care staff and a veterinarian. Only when the panel is satisfied that the proposed work has addressed the above principles and that any cost to the animals is minimised, does the project go to the Home Office for approval. Hence, projects are scrutinised at three different stages :

  • At the time of application for funding from Research Councils or other agencies.
  • At the time of Local Ethical Review by the University's Panel.
  • At the Home Office, for final approval.

The University is committed to the principles of reduction, refinement, and replacement; on each project it ensures that the number of animals used is minimised and that procedures, care routines, and husbandry are refined to maximise welfare.

  • The University is committed to the development of a number of alternative methods such as computer modelling, tissue culture, cell and molecular biology, and research with human subjects. Animal procedures are replaced with non-animal techniques wherever possible. Where the use of animals remains essential, the University of Strathclyde is committed to a culture of care and respect for animal welfare.