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UK Bioscience Sector Coalition response to protection of animals used for scientific purposes

17 May 2012

BBSRC joined 11 other research organisations, as part of the UK Bioscience Sector Coalition, in welcoming today's (17 May) Home Office announcement and the UK Government's commitment to maintaining the UK's high standards of animal welfare, while cutting needless red tape. The UK bioscience sector believes that high animal welfare standards and the application of the 3Rs (reduction, refinement and replacement) are essential for research to understand and improve the treatment of diseases.

Animal research plays an important role in the development of medical treatments for a variety of diseases and disorders, including deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease, stem cell treatments and monoclonal antibody drugs for many different types of cancer. Just yesterday (16 May), the leading science journal Nature published a paper showing how a tetraplegic patient was able to move a robot arm by thought alone. This would not have been possible without prior research using animals.

We support the Home Office's commitment to cutting cumbersome bureaucracy which inhibits vital scientific research, yet contributes nothing to benefit animal welfare. The life science sector is vital to the UK economy and healthcare environment, and government must continue to do it all it can to encourage UK competitiveness.

We were pleased to see a wide variety of respondents from the animal welfare groups, industry and academia, and that there was broad agreement on many key issues, such as the importance of a robust inspectorate. The members of the UK Bioscience Sector Coalition have been working over many years with the EU, the UK Government and with animal welfare bodies to ensure that the EU Directive drives up standards across the EU and maintain the high standards of animal welfare and scientific research already set in the UK.

ENDS

Notes to editors

Videos and high resolution images of research animals are available from UAR's online photolibrary at www.understandinganimalresearch.org.uk/resources/

About the UK Bioscience Sector Coalition

The UK Bioscience Sector Coalition comprises the UK's key bioscience organisations involved with the use of animals in scientific and medical research. It represents the perspectives of academia, industry, small and medium enterprises, charities and other research funders, as well as patient and medical groups.

The following organisations are all members of the Coalition. In addition, a diverse group of organisations have signalled their support for the Coalition response.

  • Association of Medical Research Charities
  • Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry
  • BioIndustry Association
  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
  • Institute of Animal Technology
  • Laboratory Animal Breeders Association
  • Laboratory Animal Science Association
  • Medical Research Council
  • Society of Biology
  • The Academy of Medical Sciences
  • Understanding Animal Research
  • Wellcome Trust

Contact

BBSRC Media Office

tel: 01793 414694