Research Involving Animals – Division of Biomedical Services


Three licences are required under ASPA before scientific research with the use of animals is permitted:

Establishment licence

The establishment licence is required for the place at which the work will be carried it. It regulates the application of procedures to protected animals; the breeding of protected animals for the purpose of research; and the keeping of protected animals which have been bred elsewhere.

The Establishment Licence must also specify named individuals who are responsible for the following activities:

  • Ensuring that the requirements of ASPA and the conditions of the establishment licence are complied with; the Named Person Responsible for Compliance.
  • Advising on the health, welfare and treatment of the animals; the Named Veterinary Surgeon (NVS).
  • Overseeing the welfare and care of the animals; the Named Animal Care and Welfare Officer (NACWO).
  • Ensuring that those dealing with animals are adequately educated, trained and supervised until they are competent and that they continue to undertake appropriate further training; the Named Training and Competency Officer (NTCO).
  • Ensuring that those dealing with animals have access to information they need about the species they are using; the Named Information Officer (NIO).

Project licence

The project licence specifies a programme of work and authorises the application of specific regulated procedures to animals of specified descriptions at a specific place or places.

Personal licence

The personal licence provides authorisation to carry out specified regulated procedures, under supervision if necessary.

Standard conditions

Before applying for a licence applicants are strongly advised to read the standard conditions for:

The principle of refinement set out in ASPA requires that animals are killed with a minimum of pain, suffering and distress. ASPA Schedule 1 lists killing methods appropriate for different types of animal, which are considered to be reasonably straightforward and can be performed consistently in a humane manner by someone who has received appropriate training and supervision.

The Home Office can offer further guidance on how to carry out scientific research and testing using animals, and how to apply for licences.

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