When developing new medicines, research involving animals is a vital part of helping scientists to understand disease processes and ensure that new treatments are safe for patients.

Animals are only used in research when other methods are not sufficient, and the information cannot be gained any other way. This principle is central to animal research regulation in the UK, which is tightly controlled under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act (ASPA).The ABPI and its members also build on these regulatory requirements, and actively work towards finding alternatives to the use of animals in research. This work is underpinned by the principles of the 3Rs –Replacement, Reduction and Refinement.

Public attitudes to animal research were most recently surveyed in 2018, reporting that around two thirds of the public can accept animal research for medical or scientific research purposes where there is no alternative. The report also found that close to 6 in 10 are interested in finding out more about work ongoing to find alternatives and improve the welfare of animals in research.

The ABPI is a signatory of the Concordat of Openness on Animal Research, alongside over 120 UK organisations, committing to clarity and openness about how and why animals are used in research. The ABPI also provides resources to schools on the topic of animal research to raise understanding of the subject, and to encourage informed debate and discussion. For more information on the work that industry does to deliver on its commitment to the principles of the 3Rs, and for more insight into career paths involving animals in research, please use the links below to navigate to additional content.

Read case studies from the industry connected with animals in research

The use of animals in research requires the adherence to stringent ethical and welfare standards. Many different job roles contribute to this, including some of the examples below.

More info on animal technologist careers: Careers | instanimaltech (iat.org.uk) or Careers in animal care | Understanding Animal Research (understandinganimalresearch.org.uk/)