As scientists strive to improve our understanding of disease and to develop new treatments and cures, there are occasions where there are no alternatives to using animals in research.
While the vast majority of animals used in the UK for research are bred in the UK, modern scientific research is highly collaborative and global, and in certain research programmes it is essential that scientists share specific strains of animals. It takes a long time to breed these animals, and if their transport is stopped then researchers will have to recreate them, requiring the unnecessary use of many more animals over successive generations.
Animal research is vitally important in helping us improve the health and wellbeing of people and animals in the UK and internationally, and threats to the carriage of these animals will slow down the progress of essential and life-saving biomedical research. Only a small proportion of the research we do involves the use of animals, but it must continue until viable alternatives are found. There are strict rules in place to ensure that animals receive high standards of care and welfare, and are transported safely and humanely.
The life sciences research community is working together to better understand any concerns and explore how we may be able to work with the transportation sector and the Government moving forward.
The above statement has been agreed by representatives of the UK biosciences sector, including the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), the Wellcome Trust, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) and the Laboratory Animal Breeders Association of Great Britain (LABA).