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Funding to Improve Animal Welfare

26 July 2012, at 1:00am

UK - The NC3Rs has announced 21 new grants totalling 5.1 million for research to replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in science - referred to as 'the 3Rs'. This is the largest single allocation of funding ever made for 3Rs research in the UK.

The latest funding is for projects that will find new ways to advance the 3Rs in a wide range of research programmes in which animals are used, from the causes of cancer and liver fibrosis to understanding the transmission of influenza virus and the effect of drugs on bone formation during osteoporosis.

This year the NC3Rs had a joint call with the BBSRC for research proposals to develop new ways of measuring and assessing animal welfare, with the NC3Rs considering those proposals involving laboratory animals, and the BBSRC those involving livestock and companion animals. The BBSRC provided an additional 900k to the NC3Rs to allow eight awards to be made by the NC3Rs totalling more than 2.3 million. In addition, the BBSRC will be awarding approximately 3.8 million to eight projects looking at livestock and companion animals.

BBSRC Chief Executive, Professor Douglas Kell said: "We have a responsibility to ensure the highest welfare standards for the animals we farm, keep as pets and use for scientific and medical research. In order to do this we need a thorough understanding of what animal welfare is and how it can be measured in different animals. These new projects will help ensure best practice in animal husbandry has a sound evidence base."

Dr Robinson said: "Assessing animal welfare is a crucial step for reducing pain, suffering and distress. I am particularly pleased that we have made three awards to better identify and alleviate pain and stress in fish, as the latest Home Office statistics show that the fish are now the second most common type of animal used in research and testing, and their use is increasing."

The latest awards bring the Centre's investment since 2004 to over 30 million on 131 different grants.

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