The British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) supports the efforts of the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research and strongly supports developments that reduce the number of animals employed and, more specifically, provide suitable and acceptable replacements for the use of animals in experiments. Although the BSAVA funds clinical veterinary research, through its charity 'PetSavers', it does not fund research involving the use of experimental animals.

Background information

The BSAVA recognizes that great advances have been made possible in some areas of biological knowledge only as a result of research using animals and that future essential studies will only be possible through continued involvement in animal experimentation. As such the Association accepts that it is not possible to ban the use of animals in scientific experiments in the foreseeable future, but stresses that where such experiments occur the following must be ensured:            

  • There are no alternatives available that do not involve animals.
  • The aims and the objectives of the experiment are carefully considered before considering the use of animals and that the number of animals to be used is kept to the absolute minimum to achieve these aims and objectives.
  • The welfare of the animal is paramount and there should be no severe or prolonged pain or distress.

In the UK and research involving interventions in animals must be performed under licence from the Home Office. The Home Office licence application requires researchers to fully justify the use of animals, to minimise the use of animals, to ensure that the welfare of the animals is carefully monitored and that there should be no severe or prolonged pain or distress. In addition appropriate anaesthesia and analgesia must be administered.

Other statements

Cloning of Dogs and Cats

Further information

RCVS - recognised veterinary practice


BSAVA Council as Policy Statement No. 22 (Animal Research) 1999. updated 2006 and 2012

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