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Why is it necessary to use animals in research?


Animal research has made, and continues to make, a vital contribution to health. Without animal research, we would not have many of the modern medicines, vaccines and surgical treatments that we take for granted in both human and veterinary medicine.

The Open University, alongside other universities undertaking animal research, is committed to reducing the numbers of animals used and ultimately, replacing their use entirely. We use animals in research only where no alternatives are available. However, until effective alternative models are available, some animals will continue to be needed in research.

At The Open University we follow strict national guidance and regulations to safeguard the welfare of any animals used in our research. The University is also committed to the development of technologies such as computer modelling that reduce animal use. Where the use of animals in research remains essential, the Open University is committed to a culture of care and respect for animal welfare.

In May 2014 The Open University signed the Concordat on Openness in Animal Research. Concordat signatories have agreed to abide by the following four commitments:

  1. We will be clear about when, how and why we use animals in research
  2. We will enhance our communications with the media and the public about our research using animals
  3. We will be proactive in providing opportunities for the public to find out about research using animals
  4. We will report on progress annually and share our experiences