Animals in Research

The BPS represents about 2,500 clinical and non-clinical pharmacologists who work in academia and industry. Members of the BPS are involved in all aspects of medical research, relevant to the discovery of new medicines for humans and animals throughout the world.

Whilst a lot of this research can be carried out using non-animal methods, and alternative experimental approaches are used where possible, animals are essential for some scientific research, medicines development and safety testing. Pharmacologists must integrate knowledge from in vitro and in vivo systems, which makes it essential to evaluate the effects of medicines on complex whole animal physiology and behaviour. These experiments are necessary to understand the body in health and disease, and to develop new and improved medical treatments.

The use of animals is not undertaken lightly and is stricly regulated by the government. Both the potential scientific and medical benefits of the research, and the possible suffering of the animals used, are weighed up carefully before any animal research project can proceed.


The BPS is a member of the Animal Sciences Group, a Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Society of Biology, which represents the broad spectrum of UK bodies actively involved in supporting, formulating policy or directly involved in research involving animals.

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