National Anti-vivisection Society


National Antivisection Society

The NAVS demands more information on animal experiments.

Posted: 25 July 2017. Updated: 25 July 2017


The implementation of EU laws on animal experiments in the UK brought the requirement for Non-Technical Summaries (NTS). When applying for a licence to carry out animal experiments, researchers must provide a lay summary of their proposed research, so that objective information on animal experiments is available to keep the public informed.

The Home Office Animals in Science Regulation Unit (ASRU) provides a template form, in which researchers should lay out the proposed research, the types of animals and number estimated to be used, the likely harms to the animals and supposed benefits and how their project will comply with the principles of replacement, reduction and refinement.

The NAVS has carried out extensive analysis of the NTS submissions and have found that they fail to perform their basic function of providing impartial information on the use of animal experiments to the public. We have found:

  • Vague project descriptions that do not fully explain what procedures occur and precisely what happens to the animals during the course of procedures

  • Subjective and biased explanations for the “necessity” of the research, including sweeping and unfounded statements about the claimed benefits of the research

  • Reasons provided for the choice of species and number of animals are varied and poorly justified

  • Little detail is provided on the potential for alternatives or why they feel unable to use non-animal methods to replace all or part of their work

  • In some instances required information was missing from NTSs, meaning incomplete documents are being published by the Home Office

The most recent Ipsos Mori poll showed one third of the public do not trust the regulatory system and that nearly half of the public think animal research organisations are secretive. Because of the secrecy surrounding the use of animals in laboratories, the NTS submissions are one of the few sources of information, making it even more vital that they are objective and meaningful.

The NAVS submitted a full document of concerns after being invited by the ASRU to highlight any issues with the information presented in the NTS submissions. After considering our points, ASRU included some in a document sent to animal researchers which advises on how to complete the animal project licence application, including the NTS. This includes our wording on how applicants should state exactly what happens to animals, such as dosing routes and descriptions of surgery, so that the public understands exactly what animals in laboratories are subjected to.

You can take a look at the NTS submission for 2013, 2014 and 2015 on the Home Office Animals in Science Regulation Unit website.

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