The use of animals in medical and veterinary research
Research using animals has made an important contribution to advances in medicine and surgery, which have brought major improvements in the health of human beings and animals.
Much basic research on physiological, pathological and therapeutic processes still requires the use of animals in experiments. Such research has provided and continues to provide the essential foundation for improvements in medical and veterinary knowledge, education and practice.
Research using animals will continue to be essential for the conquest of many unsolved medical problems, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, AIDS, other infectious diseases and cancer; and genetic, developmental, neurological and psychiatric conditions.
Wellcome will support biomedical and veterinary research using animals in the UK providing:
- it is fully compliant with current Home Office legislation
- it has been approved by a local ethics committee
- it has been successfully independently peer reviewed and
- due consideration has been given to the refinement, reduction or replacement of the animals in the experiment and no viable non-animal alternatives exist.
International research supported by Wellcome is expected to be carried out in the spirit of the UK legislation as well as being compliant with all local legislation and ethical review procedures.
We believe that a dialogue on the use of animals in research is healthy and should be supported, and that the research community should explain the methods and aims of its research.
Read more about our policy position on research involving animals.
Percentage of Wellcome-funded projects (1 October 2014–31 September 2015) using animals
This does not include Medical Humanities and Ethics awards.
- We support the Association of Medical Research Charities' statement on the use of animals in research
Declaration of openness on animal research signed by Wellcome along with other research funders and charities, universities and pharmaceutical companies.
- Responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research [PDF 4.2MB] – general guidance for researchers and associated veterinary and animal care staff using live animals or animal products in bioscience research. Like the BBSRC, MRC, NC3Rs and NERC, implementation of the principles in this guidance is a condition of receiving funds from Wellcome.
Choosing contractors for animal research – advice from the NC3Rs on appropriate animal welfare standards for researchers applying for grant funds from the major UK bioscience funding bodies.
If you have questions about any of our policies, contact the policy team.