The British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) supports the efforts of the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) and strongly supports developments that reduce the number of animals involved in research. More specifically, BSAVA supports the provision of 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.
The BSAVA recognises 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 all 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 evaluated 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, experimental 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.
Reviewed by members of BSAVA Scientific Committee (Sarah Caddy, Alexander German, Jeremy Kirk, Caroline Kisielewicz, Lisa Morrow, Ian Self, Melissa Upjohn, James Warland) 2021