Laboratory animals

People often disagree as to whether they think animal experiments are necessary, useful or justified, and to what extent non-animal alternatives are available. We believe that every area of animal use should be judged individually and that replacing the use of animals with humane alternatives must be the principal goal.

Areas of animal use

  • developing and testing medicines and vaccines for humans or animals  
  • studying how animals' and humans' bodies function 
  • assessing the safety of chemicals, such as pesticides, for their possible effects on human health or the environment. 

What we think

  • the necessity and justification for using animals should always be critically reviewed 
  • everything possible must be done to speed up the development of humane alternatives  
  • every possible step should be taken to reduce the numbers of animals used, and to significantly reduce their suffering and improve their welfare. 


  • It is estimated that more than 100 million animals are used in experiments each year across the world. Attitudes to animals, and the legislation in place regarding their use and welfare, vary widely between countries. 
  • In the UK, the use of animals in experiments is regulated by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 - which is administered by the Animals in Science Regulation Unit of the Home Office. Under this law, all breeding and use of animals has to be carried out in licensed premises, the research itself has to be set out in a project licence application which is submitted to the Home Office for authorisation, and the people carrying out the research also have to be licensed. 

For updates on our work to help lab animals, along with general news and views relating to animal experiments, follow us on Twitter at: @RSPCA_LabAnimal

Beagle breeding facility

We've received a large number of calls and emails from people concerned about the welfare of the beagles at MBR Acres. 

Read our full statement on this situation


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