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The use of animals in medical and veterinary research

Research using animals has made an important contribution to advances in medicine and surgery, which have brought major improvements in the health of human beings and animals.

Much basic research on physiological, pathological and therapeutic processes still requires the use of animals in experiments. Such research has provided and continues to provide the essential foundation for improvements in medical and veterinary knowledge, education and practice.

Research using animals will continue to be essential for the conquest of many unsolved medical problems, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, AIDS, other infectious diseases and cancer; and genetic, developmental, neurological and psychiatric conditions.

The Wellcome Trust will support biomedical and veterinary research using animals in the UK providing:

  • it is fully compliant with current Home Office legislation
  • it has been approved by a local ethics committee
  • it has been successfully independently peer reviewed and
  • due consideration has been given to the refinement, reduction or replacement of the animals in the experiment and no viable non-animal alternatives exist.

International research supported by the Trust is expected to be carried out in the spirit of the UK legislation as well as being compliant with all local legislation and ethical review procedures.

The Trust believes that a dialogue on the use of animals in research is healthy and should be supported, and that the research community should explain the methods and aims of its research.

Background on the policy

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