The need for animal research
Why animals are needed for research at the Babraham Institute
“Scientists only use animals when there is no alternative”. This is a much-repeated phrase but what does it mean? Which animals? What alternatives? Why can’t these replace all animal research? What do we find out using animals and why do we need to know this?
Babraham Institute scientists study fundamental processes in our cells: how they develop, survive, function, age and die. This basic biology underpins future medical advances, just as past research led to the treatments we receive today. The benefits will be felt in our children’s and grandchildren’s generations but without today’s basic science there will be no foundation for tomorrow’s medical research.
Mammals differ widely in size and shape but their cells and genes are broadly similar. Because of this, information from studies of mice or rats can be relevant to other mammals including humans, pets and farm animals.
Here are some examples of what we have learned from animal research at Babraham.
UK law regulates research using mammals, birds, fish, reptiles or amphibians. Alternatives must be used wherever possible. Babraham scientists use alternatives on a daily basis and often this also make our work quicker, cheaper and, to some extent, more informative.
Here are some examples: