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Research

How we care for our animals

We treat our animals with the best possible care. They are looked after by a dedicated team of highly-trained professionals, with a vet on call if needed.

A lab mouse emerging from a paper tube in its nest

Our animals are housed in an environment that encourages their natural behaviour.

 

At Queen Mary, our animals are cared for by a dedicated team of professionals who monitor their welfare. The animals are also housed in an environment that encourages their natural behaviour.

The rooms and other areas where animals are kept are subject to strict requirements regarding environmental temperature, humidity and air changes, depending on the species kept there.

Who looks after the animals?

Our staff are dedicated to providing the animals in their care with the best possible environment they can. However, there is always more that can be done. As a result, we constantly seek new ways to improve the way we work with animals, so that we remain at the forefront of scientific animal welfare.

The technicians who look after our animals are trained professionals, who follow different routes of qualification depending on the type of work they perform. 

A daily schedule of animal husbandry tasks ensures the animals have the best care at all times and that their surroundings are comfortable.

 

I love working with animals and I am here to ensure the animals under my care have the best lives that they can.
— Reiss Browning, Named Animal Care Welfare Officer

What training do you need to work with animals in research?

Any member of Queen Mary staff conducting procedures that might involve animals has to attend and satisfactorily complete mandatory training before being allowed to work with animals.

These training courses are held in-house and are accredited by The Royal Society of Biology in the UK.

We are fortunate at Queen Mary to have a highly skilled team who work at the forefront of developments in animal care.

Fraser Darling, biological services manager, holding a nude mouse.

Our Compliance Officer at Queen Mary, Fraser Darling (pictured holding a mouse), was the Home Office UK-nominated expert representing the UK at the European Commission to transpose the recent EU Directive 2010/63 on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes into the UK legislative framework.

This included setting training requirements as a result of the output of the EU Expert Working Group on Education and Training. Fraser is also Chair of The Royal Society of Biology Accreditation Board, which oversees training courses for researchers and others, both in the UK and in some EU countries.

How do you ensure the animals’ welfare?

There is a veterinary surgeon available 24-hours a day, in the event of emergencies. The vet also visits on a regular basis.

Analgesics (pain relief) and anaesthetics are used on animals where appropriate, and researchers and animal technicians are on duty each day to check the welfare of the animals and report any concerns.

A mouse in a research lab

We treat our animals with the best possible care.

How do you minimise the use of animals in research procedures?

Some of the procedures involve scanning the animals in special equipment, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and digital ultrasound.

These specialised items of equipment are able to provide much-needed information on the progression of tumours or disease in the animals, which are anaesthetised before each of these procedures.

The number of procedures carried out on each animal is minimised as a result of using these scanning machines.

Find out more about how we minimise the use of animals wherever possible

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How we minimise the use of animals in our research

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Learn more about Queen Mary's commitment to the highest ethical standards of animal research

Why we use animals in our research

We only use animals in research when it's absolutely essential and there's no other alternative.