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Animal research at Pirbright

Research involving animals

Pig on straw bedThe impact of the work carried out by the Institute in improving the welfare of livestock both in the UK and overseas is considerable. This important research would not be possible without the proportionate use of animals which are integral in the development of new viral disease control methods such as veterinary vaccines and diagnostics. These safeguard the wellbeing of countless livestock and the livelihoods of their owners.

The Pirbright Institute is committed to providing high standards of animal care and welfare for all animals used in research. We ensure that animal care follows the requirements of the Code of Practice for the Housing and Care of Animals used in Scientific Procedures and we strive to adopt higher standards where practicable and applicable.

Researchers working with animals at the Institute must also meet high ethical standards and adhere to strict legislation that safeguards animals used in research in the UK.

Our scientists are committed to the principles of the 3Rs: reduction (in numbers), refinement (of procedures) and replacement (with laboratory procedures) of experimental animals. The 3Rs principle is central to the Institute’s values and we take seriously our responsibility to ensure that experiments are designed with the aim of avoiding the use of animals wherever possible whilst ensuring that we produce results that are of benefit to animal health and welfare in the longer term.

Openness and accountability

The Institute is a signatory to the Concordat on Openness on animal research in the UK.  Signed by universities, charities, commercial companies, research councils, umbrella bodies and learned societies, the Concordat has a set of commitments requiring organisations to enhance their communication about their use of animals in research.  

We endorse the ARRIVE guidelines (Animal Research: Reporting In Vivo Experiments) produced by the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Experiments (NC3Rs).

Whilst there are laws and regulations that govern the use of animals in scientific research, staff at the Institute strive to go above and beyond what is legally required. We have a culture of care to ensure that animals are treated with compassion and respect which positively impacts on our quality of science.


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