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Animal research policy

Arthritis is a painful, disabling condition affecting more than 1 in 6 people in the UK and we are dedicated to finding treatments to take the pain away from sufferers so they can live active, longer, happier and healthier lives.

We are committed to increasing our understanding of how arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions develop and how best they should be treated. To achieve this we fund a broad range of medical research, from research in laboratories to research involving human volunteers, from computer modelling to understanding the benefits of self-care programmes for people with arthritis. Where there are no alternatives, we fund medical research which uses animals.

Medical research using animals has made a vital contribution to advances in medicine and surgery which have brought major improvements to the health of people. Research using animals will continue to be essential to tackle many of the unsolved problems in understanding and treating musculoskeletal conditions. The UK has one of the most rigorous systems in the world for regulating animal research.

The UK requires permissions from both central Government and local ethical reviews to conduct research involving animals. As part of this approval process, each medical research project using animals must be examined and ways to improve adoption of the 3Rs are considered. These are:

  • Replace the use of animals with alternative research methods and where possible avoid the use of animals altogether.
  • Reduce the number of animals used.
  • Refine how animal-based experiments are carried out to minimise any suffering and to improve animal welfare.

We are fully committed to these principles and all our research abides by rules set out by the Home Office. Under this system, animals can only be used when there is no alternative. Arthritis Research UK is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities and signs up to their position on animal research along with their Concordat on Openness in Animal Research, and as such we have committed to be open and clear about our use of animals in research in our external communications.

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Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.