Animals in Science and Animal Welfare Policy


Cefas is committed to pursuing a humane and compassionate approach in all of its animal-based work and will promote the principles of the 3R’s (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) in experiments involving the use of protected animals, as defined under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. We will use the 3R’s as a framework for conducting high quality science with more focus on developing alternative approaches which avoid the use of protected animals. Where alternatives are not available, we will devote sufficient effort and resource continually to improve the organisation of, and arrangements for, applying rigorous standards of care and welfare to all activities that involve the use of protected animals and for meeting in full our obligations under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.


Cefas affirms the importance of animal welfare and commits to meet in full our obligations under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. In addition, Cefas will endeavour to apply equally rigorous standards of care and welfare to activities involving animals that are not regulated by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.


Cefas will:

  1. adopt a humane and compassionate approach to protected animals and to other animals housed at our facilities and on our Research Vessel Cefas Endeavour;

  2. maintain an active, well-documented ethical review process;

  3. comply fully with the provisions of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and all aspects of associated Codes of Practice;

  4. seek continually to improve standards of animal care by fostering an open culture in which all staff have access to the Agency’s ethical review process;

  5. ensure that all uses of protected animals are carefully considered and justified, and that proper account is taken of the ‘3Rs’ of replacement, reduction and refinement;

  6. ensure that staff involved in the care and use of protected animals are competent and adequately trained;

  7. foster an awareness of animal welfare issues throughout the Agency;

  8. fulfill our Commitments as signatories of the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK; and

  9. ensure that all staff have a readily accessible means of raising ‘causes of concern’ with Cefas management.


A provision of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 is that each Licensed Establishment must have a well-documented ethical review process. Cefas complies with this requirement through its Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Bodies (AWERBs): one covering the Lowestoft laboratory the other covering the Weymouth laboratory. A pan-Cefas Ethical Review Committee complements the two local AWERBs by providing a forum for debate among members of the two local bodies, enabling the responsibilities of the Establishment Licence Holders at the two Establishments to be aligned with the overall accountability of the Chief Executive for all the work conducted in the Agency.

Legislation (or Regulation)

Cefas will comply with the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, other applicable legal requirements (e.g. Animal Welfare Act 2006) and all other requirements that relate to animal care and welfare agreed with Home Office and other stakeholders.

I give my full backing to this policy.

Neil Hornby 

Chief Executive

October 2023