The Pirbright Institute is a world leading centre of excellence for research and surveillance of viral diseases of livestock and those that spread from animals to humans. To that end we have extensive facilities for performing studies with the primary host animals, i.e. livestock, and the disease agents that we study. Many of these diseases have enormous economic and social impacts as well as animal welfare implications and our work is vital in contributing to their containment, control and eradication.
We have expertise in running animal studies and can provide assistance with regulatory guidelines, study design, laboratory work and statistical analysis.
We process many of the samples generated from our studies in our Reference Laboratories, UKAS accredited testing laboratories No. 4025. We have 10 Reference Laboratories for exotic viral diseases of livestock which work on behalf of national and international organisations.
The data from our experiments has been used to support the registration of a number of veterinary vaccines; particularly those targeting foot-and-mouth disease virus. This work also aids with provision of advice, both nationally and internationally, and on control measures for these important livestock diseases. We are currently working towards veterinary GCP accreditation.
The animals are maintained by our Animal Services department who have extensive knowledge of animal husbandry; some members of staff are also qualified to assist in experimental procedures. Animal Services supply quality animals to meet the specific criteria requested by our clients and our state of the art facilities provide a great deal of flexibility with regard to housing and group sizes. A variety of different animal species can be housed at the site and we are able to work on a number of livestock species including; cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and chickens. We can also work with small animals and have developed small animal models for some of the diseases we work on.
We maintain high levels of animal welfare with the provision of 24 hour veterinary care and we work to the ARRIVE guidelines under the NC3Rs. We have our own ethical review committee and an environmental enrichment group.