Animal research  Animals in research policy

The University of Leeds carries out research using animals to improve the health and welfare of human beings and animals, to provide a better understanding of the animals themselves, and for educational purposes.

We use animals only when there are no alternatives, and are firmly committed to the replacement, reduction and refinement of the use of animals in research (the ‘three Rs’).

Research involving animals is driving fundamental advances in understanding, treating and curing a range of health problems including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and mental illness, thus reducing unnecessary suffering. In addition, our researchers continue to develop new strands of thinking to tackle future issues.

We use alternatives to animals wherever possible – including computer modelling, synthetic tissue culture, cell and molecular biology, and research with human subjects – and we are actively involved in developing alternatives to animal tissue use.

However, these alternatives cannot yet properly reproduce the complex biological characteristics of human beings and animals, and nor can they replicate the study of animals in their natural environment.

Whenever animals do have to be used as part of a study, they are treated with dignity, and cared for by professionally qualified staff.  All research programmes using animals are carried out to high standards and with recognition that living species are involved.

Research programmes using animals operate within a strict framework of legal controls.  Projects must also be approved by an ethical review committee, and researchers are trained in the ethical dimensions of their work and in standards of animal care, welfare and accommodation.

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