UCL launches dedicated animal research information website
11 December 2014
UCL has today launched a new public information website on animal research, describing how and why animals are used across the university.
The website explains how animal research is conducted at UCL, including descriptions of the processes governing research and the '3Rs': replacing animal research with alternatives, reducing the number of animals used and refining experiments to minimise harm and discomfort to the animals. The site also lists up-to-date figures of how many animals of each species were used in UCL research last year.
Professor Sir John Tooke, UCL Vice Provost (Health), says: "I welcome the launch of the new website describing animal research at UCL, which signals our commitment to openness and transparency as signatory to the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK. Research involving animals remains a vital component of our fight against disease affecting animals and man where no alternatives currently exist and we strive to sustain the highest possible standards in such work."
The resource will allow anyone to learn about the realities of UCL's animal research, including case studies of individual projects. The site will be launched with one animal research case study and one alternative case study. Over the next year, more case studies will be gradually added to the website.
Development of the website was overseen by Adrian Deeny, Director of UCL Biological Services, who was a core member of the steering group on Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK.
"We wanted to show people the realities of animal research at UCL and be
absolutely open about how, when and why we do it," he explains. "A lot of
claims made about animal research are based on information that is out of date
or out of context. Many people do not realise how tightly-regulated modern
research really is. Our website explains what a researcher must do before they
are granted permission to work with animals and how we protect animals from
Wendy Jarrett, CEO of Understanding Animal Research, the organisation that led the work to develop the Concordat, says: "I'm really impressed by the quality and depth of information that UCL is providing on its new web pages. The Concordat requires all signatories to have a publicly-available policy statement on animal research, but this goes well beyond that, and is a great example for others who have yet to update their websites. As with many signatories' projects, UCL is really embracing the spirit of the Concordat, not just sticking to the basic requirements.
We have seen a step-change this year in openness among organisations that use animals for scientific, medical and veterinary research and I hope that this will achieve what everyone wants - a better public understanding of why and how animals are used in research in this country."
Research mouse in UCL's animal facility (Courtesy of David Bishop, UCL)
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