Use of animals in research

The use of animals at the University of Plymouth is carried out under the strict regulations of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act (1986)/EU Directive 2010/63/EU, operated by the Home Office.

In tandem with this, we have our own regulatory structure which includes our Governance Board and Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Board.

Most of our research groups address their research questions using cell cultures, human tissue, computation methods and and non-animal in vivo models such as fruit flies.

The University of Plymouth holds a Home Office establishment licence and all researchers are required to hold a personal license in order to carry out any research involving animals. All such work is carried out under a specific project licence held for each individual project.

We use a small number of animals under ASPA - limited to rats, mice, chickens, fish - in a small number of research projects. The projects range from the development of cures and advancements in treatment for potential debilitating disease which have the potential to affect millions of people worldwide – including cancer, stroke, dementia, peripheral nerve development, repair and the biology of nervous system tumours, Parkinson’s Disease, others - to the protection of the environment by advancement in research on the effects of chemicals and ways of remediating or preventing them entering the environment.

We also conduct research which seeks to find sustainable feed sources try and promote better health and welfare for livestock and domesticated animals.

The use of animals is only permitted after close scrutiny shows that there are clear benefits and no alternatives.

Our researchers are active in findings ways to avoid or reduce the number of animals used in research.

Where animals are used they are treated with respect and the highest levels of care. We have a team of animal welfare specialists who work closely with our researchers and who provide animal welfare and care training. They, in turn, have 24/7 veterinary support.