In order to optimise the widest possible benefits for animal health and welfare, the AHT uses limited numbers of animals in some of its research. All research using animals must comply with the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 Amendment Regulations (2012), also known as ASPA.
Any procedure covered by ASPA can only be undertaken by a researcher holding a Personal Licence (PIL), as part of a programme of work covered by a Project Licence (PPL) in an institution with an Establishment Licence (PEL). To handle or work with animals, researchers are required to attend courses, including those accredited by the Home Office and sign a Code of Conduct detailing expected behaviour and responsibilities to the animals in their care. The licensed institution will also assess researchers' competency in all procedures they intend to undertake using animals.
All AHT-based projects using animals in research are reviewed by the organisation's Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body (AWERB). The AWERB oversees all project licence applications, animal welfare, training and the AHT’s commitment to the 3Rs of replacement, reduction and refinement of the use of animals in research.
All research using animals must address the 3Rs in all proposed plans of work and review their application during research projects as well as once they have been completed:
- Replacement - use of methods which avoid or replace the use of animals
- Reduction - minimising the number of animals used
- Refinement - improvements in procedures and husbandry which minimise suffering, pain or distress or improves welfare.
The Concordat for Openness on Animal Research
The AHT is a signatory to the Concordat for Openness on Animal Research. As a signatory, the AHT undertakes activities designed to increase the transparency around our research using animals. It is up to each individual to decide if they wish to be involved with Concordat activities and participation is strictly voluntary.
If you would like to understand more about the need for humane animal research in the UK, please visit Understanding Animal Research.