Thursday, 17 May 2012 1:27 PM
New provisions will limit use of animals in future research
THE Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research welcomes the update to the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 as an important step forward in replacing the use of animals in medical research.
The original act has been in place for 25 years and in that time major scientific advances and changes in attitude have meant that the use of alternatives to animal experiments is now part of everyday science.
The amended act will enshrine the 3R’s principles of reduction, refinement and replacement of animal experimentation in law making it harder for scientists to use more animals in future research.
The current ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ of replacing animal experiments with non-animal alternatives will be reinforced by transposition of key new EU provisions into UK law.
All EU member states have until January 2013 to include the provisions of the Directive to use alternatives into their national systems of legislation.
They must ensure that, wherever possible, a scientifically-satisfactory method or testing strategy “not entailing the use of live animals shall be used” and that the number of animals used in projects is “reduced to a minimum”.
The inclusion of such provisions means that the UK now has not only a moral obligation but a legal requirement to develop and promote alternatives to animal experimentation and, where suitable and scientifically justified, to use non-animal alternatives in place of animal experiments.
In the Government’s response to the transposition, many of the suggestions put forward by the DHT that are related to the development of alternatives have been included.
The DHT is pleased to see all those issues being taken up, particularly the creation of a national database of available alternative methods.
The Government has said that it will give further consideration to these responses which include the DHT’s suggestions of the alternatives database, the inclusion of 3R’s principles in the National Curriculum and the creation of ‘Replacement Science’.
For 42 years, the Dr Hadwen Trust has consistently funded and promoted the use of alternatives from an ethical, scientific and economic perspective with over 150 grants given for ground-breaking projects.
Kailah Eglington, Chief Executive of the Dr Hadwen Trust, said: “The DHT welcomes these new regulations as we have long called for such important provisions to be put in place.
“They will help replace the use of animals in all medical research and enable more scientists to focus on developing human-relevant alternatives throughout Europe.”
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Notes to editor:
The Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research (DHT) is the UK’s leading medical research charity funding and promoting the development of techniques and procedures to replace the use of animals in biomedical research and testing. The DHT was established in 1970 and is supported by patrons such as Dame Judi Dench, Joanna Lumley, Brian May and David Shepherd. Funded solely by charitable donations, the DHT has awarded grants to over 140 research projects for some of the most advanced and successful human-related techniques in diverse areas of medical research including cancer, Alzheimer’s, asthma, kidney, heart and liver disease and diabetes.