Animal research in the UK is strictly regulated.

UK regulations on research using animals

Animal research in the UK is strictly regulated, and compliance with regulations is monitored by regular unannounced Home Office inspections.

All projects involving animals, the researchers carrying it out, and the institution itself, must each by licensed by the Home Office.

Researchers must meet compulsory training standards before they are allowed to carry out research on animals. It is illegal to use an animal in an experiment if there is a suitable alternative.

The laws on research involving the use of animals are set out in the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, or ASPA, which was most recently updated in 2012.

The Home Office enforces the law, including regulations on housing, environment, welfare, care, and health.

Home Office inspectors often work with researchers to refine their experiments at the application stage, minimising the number of animals used, replacing them where possible and refining experiments to minimise any potential suffering.

Permission to work with animals is granted by the Home Office by licence only under very specific conditions. The Home Office also has an inspection system to ensure that rules are not violated.

You can also view the Home Office information about the regulations governing research using animals.

Application procedures

Please contact the University’s Home Office Liaison Officer for information on licensing under ASPA.