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RSPCA Working to Reduce 'Severe' Suffering in Research Animals

07 August 2015

UK - The RSPCA has revealed its latest working group report - focusing on minimizing suffering for mice and rats used in research into rheumatoid arthritis.

The scientific animal welfare charity has a long history of working with researchers, animal technologists, lab animal vets and the government regulator to help tackle severe suffering in animal experiments.

The Society’s most recent report on rheumatoid arthritis provides practical, realistic guidance on identifying and minimizing potential causes of suffering, significantly reducing the impact on animals but without affecting the science.

Penny Hawkins, Head of Research Animals at the RSPCA, said: “We work with people who share the RSPCA’s goal of reducing suffering in animal research, and have a range of expertise and roles within industry and academia. That way, we can ensure the recommendations are feasible and well-informed - but will make a real difference and encourage people to challenge the status quo.

“For example, the report includes a discussion on whether it is possible to provide analgesia in rheumatoid arthritis studies. Traditionally, some scientists believe this will interfere with results, but our report explains that there are ways of providing pain relief for animals in arthritis research without having a negative effect on the science. This is all about reducing the conflict between science and animals, for as long as animal research continues.

“The kind of information in our report is hugely valuable for both better science and better animal welfare, but is just not included in most scientific papers. The RSPCA is in the fortunate position of being able to bring scientists, animal technologists, vets and animal welfarists together to spread the word about their work to avoid using animals, reduce suffering and improve welfare.”

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