NIAA Statement on the Use of Animals in Medical Research

The National Institute of Academic Anaesthesia (NIAA) supports research into anaesthesia by managing funds on behalf of its specialist society funding partners. Such research has the ultimate aim of improving healthcare in our field, through experimental and discovery science and clinical studies. Some research will inevitably involve the use of live animals. The Animals (Scientific Procedures Act) 1986 tightly regulates research involving animals and ensures that high standards of animal welfare are maintained.

All studies funded through the NIAA must receive the appropriate local animal research committee approval as well as appropriate Home Office project and personal licences in place prior to starting the research. All grant applications will undergo expert peer review as part of a rigorous assessment process which will include the justification of the use of animals.

Two NIAA Founding Partners, the BJA and the RCoA, each hold membership of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and the NIAA supports the AMRC's position statement on the use of animals in research and the principles of the 3Rs as developed by the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs).

Researchers applying to the NIAA for funding which involves research on animals should fully justify the use of animals, including how they have addressed the concepts of replacement, refinement and reduction in designing their research. An experimental design tool is available from the NC3Rs which will guide researchers through the design of their experiments, and help ensure the minimum number of animals is used, consistent with scientific objectives, methods to reduce subjective bias, and appropriate statistical analysis.

The NC3Rs have also produced a set of guidelines on the reporting of results of animal studies, in consultation with scientists, statisticians, journal editors and research funders. These guidelines, called the ARRIVE (Animal Research: Reporting In Vivo Experiments) Guidelines, are based on the CONSORT statement for clinical research. All studies funded through the NIAA should adhere to these guidelines when reporting results. A checklist is available.