• Animal Research 2 | Gendered Innovations
  • National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
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Kilkenny, C., Browne, W., Cuthill, I., Emerson, M., & Altman, D. (2010). Animal Research: Reporting Experiments. , e1000412.

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Why Animals are Used - animal research

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Animals at MRC establishments are inspected at least once daily in compliance with the Animal (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA). It is a legal requirement under the act for designated establishments to have a Named Veterinary Surgeon (NVS), on call 24 hours a day, to provide advice and ensure the well-being of individual animals and whole colonies. Every designated establishment must also have a Named Animal Care and Welfare Officer (NACWO) who must ensure that the husbandry and care of animals are practiced to the highest standards. The NVS works closely with the (NACWO), authorised by the Home Office and independent from the scientific research, to make certain that the care and welfare of animals is monitored in accordance with ASPA.

Home - Medical Research Council

Here you can find all of the MRC’s  on the use of animals in research.
The Medical Research Council Centre for Macaques is a primate breeding unit established in 2003 to house and breed rhesus macaques, funded by the MRC with support from the Wellcome Trust. Non-human primates continue to be used in some areas of research where there are no alternative approaches. Macaques are non-human primates which have similarities to humans in their vision, central nervous system and immunology and reproductive system. The monkeys are used in basic and applied research within the academic sector in the UK, funded by the major grant-giving bodies. The unit houses about 250 animals including breeding stock and youngsters. The breeding programme is planned so that supply and demand are matched, to prevent in-breeding and to ensure there is no need to import animals.

 

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National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement, and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3RS). (2008).  London: Tradewinds.
1. Analyzing Sex at the Tissue and Cellular Level. Sex analysis in basic research has occurred primarily in animal studies and has centered on hormonally mediated sex differences. Sex is rarely analyzed or even reported in studies involving cultured cells or extracted tissues. A study of articles in high-impact, peer-reviewed cardiovascular disease journals showed that only 20-28% of articles describing research on new cell lines stated the sex of cells used. Of the minority of studies that did report sex, 69% used male cells only (Taylor et al., 2011). This disparity is of concern because emerging research suggests that studying cellular sex is important in developing stem cell therapies (see Case Study: ).

This page contains the ARC Medical Research Policy, including previous versions.
1. Requiring Researchers to Report the Sex of Subjects. Granting agencies and journal editors can make sex reporting a requirement if research is to be funded or findings published. Reporting the sex of model organisms prevents inappropriate generalizations, facilitates meta-analysis, and can show where animals of one sex have been overlooked. Major bioscience funders, including the U.K.’s Medical Research Council (MRC), now require that researchers report animal “species, strain, sex, developmental stage […] and weight.” Major journals, including and the Public Library of Science publications, have instituted the same requirements (National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement, and Reduction of Animals in Research, 2008; Kilkenny et al., 2010).


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4. Studying Gender in Animal Research. Placing female and male animals in different physical and social environments can have marked effects on behavior and experimental outcome, and gender analysis is needed to ensure that housing systems and handling do not create systematic bias (Holdcroft, 2007). In particular, if researchers expect a particular sex difference, they may handle or house female and male animals differently and in such a manner as to produce that sex difference, or they may choose a specific behavioral test likely to produce that difference (Birke, 2011). Housing and handling can determine animal stress levels, which alter both behavioral and biochemical profiles (Beck et al., 2002).

Why do scientists use animals in research? - the APS

One reason drugs fail—and fail more often for women—is that, oddly enough, most research is still done in males, whether human, animal, or cells and tissues (see chart).

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3. Sampling Pregnant Females to Detect Developmental Toxicity. This protocol allows researchers to gather “information concerning the effects of prenatal exposure on the pregnant test animal and on the developing organism in utero”.

Understanding Animal Research Homepage

In research design, both male and female animals should be considered before sex differences are ruled out. Although this increases costs in basic research, it may reduce costs overall—given the high price of developing biomedical therapies. It will certainly reduce human suffering and death.