Animal research at Durham University Durham University uses

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					Animal research at Durham University

Durham University uses animals in a variety of its research work, which is strictly
regulated and includes scientific procedures and observational work in the laboratory
and in the field. In doing this, we strive for the very highest standards of care and
wellbeing for all animals.

Studying animals in the laboratory can help us understand more about the physical
interactions between different parts of the body, gain knowledge which can be
applied to the study of human physiology, and ultimately aid discovery and
development of medical treatments for conditions such as cancer and diabetes.

Many of the world’s major medical breakthroughs have been thanks to many years of
scientific work carried out with animals which share many genes and diseases with
humans. Animal testing is usually the only option for testing treatments are safe
before progressing to clinical trials in humans.

Durham University is strictly regulated, licensed and regularly inspected by the Home
Office, under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. These regulations are
among the strictest in the world and we are required to have a series of licences
covering research premises, projects and every individual researcher.

The University has Home Office licences to carry out laboratory work on mice, rats,
rabbits, fish, and frogs. All University staff members working with laboratory animals
have been trained to Home Office standards and are licensed to work with animals.
The animals enjoy the highest levels of care from a dedicated team of qualified
technical staff, in modern, hygienic rooms and controlled environmental conditions,
with regular veterinary inspections. We also receive regular, unannounced visits
from the Home Office inspector who checks the welfare of the animals and our
compliance with the conditions of our licences.

All projects involving animals at Durham, including observational studies which are
not subject to Home Office licence, are scrutinised by its Ethics Committee.
Committee membership consists of scientists, people with animal care and veterinary
expertise and lay members of the community, who weigh up the potential benefits of
animal research against the effects upon the animals concerned. The committee is
also committed to the principles known as the ‘three Rs’ and ensures they are
applied in all cases, which are:

       Reduction: to use the minimum number of animals.
       Replacement: To use alternatives wherever possible, which may include
       computer modelling and cell or tissue culture.
       Refinement: To strive for the highest possible standard of animal care, use
       and welfare, to initiate improvements where possible and to minimise the
       suffering and stress caused to animals.

Only when all panel members are satisfied that these principles are being adhered to
will proposals be approved and, where a licence is required, submitted to the Home
Office for its approval.
Durham University is one of the UK’s leading universities for the quality of its science
and is proud of the scientific and medical advancements it has made over many
years. Our researchers are also using and developing new alternatives to animal
laboratory testing, one of which includes a new and more realistic way of growing
human cell tissue in the laboratory, and they are also involved in programmes to
improve welfare of animals in their natural habitats and in captivity.

    - Professor Chris Higgins, Vice Chancellor and Warden, Durham University -

Links to further information about animal research:

   •   Research Defence Society:
   •   National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals
       in Research:
   •   Home Office – Animals in Scientific Procedures:

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