Animal Science meeting examines the European Directive 2010/63/EU and GA Animals in Research


On 7th December 2012 the Society of Biology and the Animals in Science Regulatory Unit (ASRU, Home Office) held a joint meeting on Animal Science. This meeting focused on the new European Directive 2010/63/EU and its legislative implementation, set to begin on 1st January 2013. The meeting also featured a session on GA Animals in Research, jointly organised with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).
Attendees of this one-day meeting represented a wide range of interests and expertise; including academia, charities, research (industrial and academic) as well as animal welfare, and came from all parts of the UK.

The first session focused on genetically altered (GA) animals in research, a jointly-organised session with the RSPCA, co-chaired by Dr Nikki Osborne and Professor Clive Page.

  • Dr Steve Ryder (ASRU) spoke about the statistical reporting, explaining future regulations of GA breeding and changes to reporting requirements [download presentation].
  • Dr Kathleen Mathers (MRC-National Institute for Medical Research) described the current phenotype assessment of GA mice and introduced GA passports for consistent animal care [download presentation].
  • Dr James Bussell (Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute) explained the assessment of welfare and severity of GA mice under the new Directive [download presentation].
  • Professor Bruce Whitelaw (The Roslin Institute and University of Edinburgh) provided a scientific insight into GA animals in research, explaining the development and application of non-murine models [download presentation].

The Directive 2010/63/EU is being incorporated into legislation by amendment of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. The incorporation of the Directive into law will help to harmonise regulations and standards across the EU, and promote strategies to reduce, replace and refine (the 3Rs) the use of animals in research.

The following session addressed the current legislative development and IT implementation.

  • David Buist and Martin Walsh (ASRU) provided an update on the progress, next steps and transitional provisions [download presentation].
  • Colin Macaldowie and Alan Buchan (ASRU) introduced the future Electronic Licence Portal (ASPeL), discussing the progress and practicality of the system [download presentation].
  • Dr Fraser Darling (Society of Biology) highlighted the important role of training, supervision and competence for the new Directive and the EU framework [download presentation].

A panel discussion with Sue Houlton (Chief Inspector, Home Office), Dr Maggy Jennings (RSPCA), and Dr Fraser Darling presented current thinking on future challenges and took discussion points from the audience. The challenges of local implementation and administration of the new Directive were the main focus of this discussion.

The Minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach addressed the meeting, emphasising the importance of transparency and openness as well as the vital contribution of fundamental research.
We were pleased to note that Lord Taylor referred to the meeting positively during discussions of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 Amendment Regulations 2012 in the Grand Committee (House of Lords) on 13th December 2012.

Overall, this meeting has had very good feedback from participants and was a good opportunity to discuss the current processes and upcoming procedures of legislative implementation.


The following documents and links provide relevant additional information:

Current Home Office consultations

ASPA e-Newsletter: April 2013

Draft Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 Amendment Regulations 2012

Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 Amendment Regulations 2012

Grand Committee, House of Lords Debate, 13 December 2012 Publication

Debate at Parliament TV