The Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA) is a piece of enabling legislation that allows researchers to carry out scientific experiments and tests using animals that may cause them pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm, which would otherwise be a breach of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
By default, research on animals that is licensed by the Home Office under ASPA has the potential to cause those animals harm – either physical or psychological. Organisations that are signed up to the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK should be transparent about the use and experiences of the animals under their care, the expected impact of the research on animals, and the steps taken to reduce these and to improve animal welfare.
Representatives of Concordat signatories met in May 2018 to discuss the challenges of communicating openly about harms, and to identify recommendations for good practice when discussing the experiences of animals.
Following a presentation (available here) which set out the issues, attendees formed small discussion groups to explore some key questions. A summary of the points raised in these discussions can be found here.