Research involving animals
As we are a leading university in the field of biomedicine, our research interests tend to reflect the major causes of concern for human health and quality of life. These include cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and dementia, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, and the many different types of cancer.
To make the progress needed to alleviate human suffering and benefit society as a whole, this research has to be underpinned by an understanding of disease mechanisms and the study of immunology, genetics and cell biology, including stem cell therapies. Sometimes this research may involve animals where absolutely no alternative is available; in fact, in certain circumstances, we are actively encouraged to undertake animal testing. The Declaration of Helsinki (a statement of ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects, developed by the World Medical Association) states that studies in animals are often essential before studies in humans can be conducted.
The University maintains the highest standards of animal welfare and invests heavily in facilities. Fully trained care staff hold degrees in animal care and qualifications accredited by the Institute of Animal Technology (IAT). We house animals in social groups wherever possible and provide a rich and varied environment to allow a range of natural behaviours. A full-time animal care and welfare officer and a veterinary surgeon are employed to ensure best practice is adopted and observed.
Alternatives to animal testing
The University is very committed to research designed to reduce, refine and replace animals used for scientific purposes (this is referred to as 'the 3Rs'). We encourage staff to engage with the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs), which aims to develop scientifically robust non-animal alternatives and, where animal use continues to be necessary, works to reduce the number of animals used and improve welfare practices.
We fully support and endorse the ARRIVE (Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments) guidelines, developed as part of an NC3Rs initiative to improve the design, analysis and reporting of animal research.
- Download our policy on the use of animals in research (PDF document, 110KB)
- Read more about the benefits of research involving animals on the Understanding Animal Research website