The Humanimal Trust & Animal Testing

We believe in openness and transparency, and that animal testing should not be hidden from public scrutiny.  Our animal testing policy outlines our beliefs and how we incorporate this into our work.

It is the law in the UK and elsewhere that most new medical treatments, devices, drugs and therapies intended for human and veterinary use need to be tested on animals, and we accept that based on current scientific knowledge, there is sometimes no alternative way of proving the safety and efficacy of these innovations.  Research into how the body works (in health as well as in disease) and the development of potential new therapies and treatments for humans and animals also involve some animal research.

The United Kingdom has one of the strictest frameworks for animal research in the world, and it is forbidden to carry out animal research:

  • If there is an alternative;
  • For cosmetics (or their ingredients), tobacco or household products.

Additionally, researchers in the UK are obliged to follow the “three Rs” approach: to Replace the use of animals with alternative techniques, or avoid the use of animals altogether; to Reduce the number of animals used to a minimum, to obtain information from fewer animals or more information from the same number of animals; and to Refine the way experiments are carried out, to make sure that animals suffer as little as possible.  The UK Government leads the world in funding research into the three Rs to reduce the need for animal testing through the National Centre for Research into the three Rs.  (www.nc3rs.org.uk)

The Humanimal Trust do not directly fund research involving the use of healthy, purpose-bred research animals. However, we recognise the current importance of preclinical animal studies in defining the safety and technical feasibility of new medical treatments, devices, drugs and therapies intended for both human and veterinary use

We emphasise the need for scientific researchers to work with clinical patients where possible, and to study naturally occurring disease in animals. Spontaneously occurring disease in animals should be studied for lessons that can be applied to the human and veterinary medical spheres and such conditions may sometimes provide a superior model to artificially induced conditions in laboratory animals.

The Humanimal Trust will share knowledge and experience from veterinary clinical practice, thus helping to ensure that the use of otherwise healthy animals in research is minimised. We will collaborate with human medical researchers, including those conducting animal studies, as long as our involvement works towards replacing, reducing and refining that animal research.

In addition, we strongly promote the 3 Rs of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement being reconceived as the ‘4 Rs’, of Replacement, Reduction Refinement and Reciprocity. We will only fund or endorse a project if there is a clear potential benefit to both human and veterinary patients.

We believe in openness and transparency, and that animal testing should not be hidden from public scrutiny.  To underline our commitment to transparency, we have joined with more than ninety other research institutions, charities and universities and signed the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK, which is a commitment to work towards being open and honest about how a­­­nd why animals are used in research.

The Humanimal Trust is also working towards membership of the Association of Medical Research Charities, and as an AMRC member, will support the AMRC’s policy statement on animal research, found at http://bit.ly/AMRCsta1.