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Animal Research

Animal research plays an essential part in the understanding of health and disease and the development of required medical treatments. Without the use of animals, many modern medicines, antibiotics, vaccines and surgical techniques for human and veterinary medicine would not be developed.

Our Welfare First Programme
Agenda places Welfare at the heart of everything they do and have introduced a welfare first programme that cares for the staff who care for the animals that are used in research. An important element of this programme is that all staff have a moral and legal obligation to ensure the welfare of the animals in their care. Good laboratory animal welfare is a vital aspect of laboratory animal science and animal research. All staff sign our welfare contract to demonstrate commitment to animal welfare.

Although animals play a vital role in medical research, as an industry we aim to use the minimum number possible. Agenda supports the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals used in research and work in partnership with the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) to encourage the sharing of best practice and new ideas.

Animals are only used in research where there are no alternatives. The principles of reduction, refinement and replacement of animals in research (the ‘3Rs) underpin all related work carried out at Agenda facilities.

Research Personnel
Agenda manages a number of research facilities in the UK, within which our staff conduct animal experimental and non-animal experimental research in line with the Home Office Legislation.

Regulation
Strict laws control the use of animals in research. The use of animals in research in the UK is controlled by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (amended in 2012). These regulations are based on the European Directive 2010/63/EU, which sets out measures for protection of animals used for scientific purposes across Europe. The legislation describes in detail what is required to undertake any research involving animals and includes guidance on housing, care and welfare of the animals, as well as the strict licencing, training and monitoring processes involved in research itself.

Licences for animal research
There are three separate licenses that are required to conduct research on animals:

  • Establishment License: for the premises where animal research will take place
  • Project Licence: describing the research that will be carried out in detail and why the work is justified. Project licences are only granted after appropriate training has been completed and are active for a maximum period of 5 years. There must be no alternative methods available, and the licence holder must demonstrate that the benefits clearly outweigh the likely cost to the animals’ well-being
  • Personal Licence: For each researcher grated after appropriate training to ensure that they have the necessary skills, competency and experience to carry out regulated procedures

Best Practice and Research Openness
We work closely with organisations such as the Institute of Animal Technology, the NC3Rs, Understanding Animal Research and the Laboratory Animal Science Association to encourage the sharing of best practice and new ideas and we were one of the first to sign the Concordat on openness on animal research in the UK, which was launched in May 2014. We are committed to helping the public understand more about animal research.   Nearly 100 research organisations have signed up to the Concordat have agreed to be more open about their use of animals in research, and to abide by the following four commitments:

  • Commitment 1: We will be clear about when, how and why we use animals in research
  • Commitment 2: We will enhance our communications with the media and the public about our research using animals
  • Commitment 3: We will be proactive in providing opportunities for the public to find out about research using animals
  • Commitment 4: We will report on progress annually and share our experiences

Agenda are proud to have won the Internal or Sector Engagement Activity prize category at the Understanding Animal Research Concordat Openness Awards in December 2015.

The award presented was by Dr Mark Prescott, Head of Research Management and Policy at the NC3Rs.  The high level judging panel chose Agenda from an excellent list of worthy nominees because of the development of its Welfare First programme and its commitment to proactively sharing these practices internally within Agenda but also within the research sector in the UK and internationally. Since the launch of the Welfare First programme in 2013, Agenda has continually promoted the importance of caring for the staff that care for the animals to promote excellence in laboratory animal welfare. Read more here.

Further Information
To find out more about how animals are used in research, how their use is regulated and research that is underway to find an alternative, visit: