Guidance, resources and further information

The Medical Research Council (MRC) has issued various sets of guidance concerning the use of animals in research, in addition to adopting policy and guidance from the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs).

Home Office documents

Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (consolidated)

Guidance on the Operation of the Act

Home Office Code of Practice for the care and accommodation of animals

Responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research

General guidance for researchers using animals or animal research products in research and to those assessing applications for research funding.

Responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research

See also:

MRC Guidance for applicants

MRC guidance for applicants

Guidance for applicants for proposals involving animal use

ARRIVE guidelines from the NC3Rs

Experimental Design Assistant from the NC3Rs

MRC worked examples of justifications for experimental design and animal number in grant applications

MRC Codes of Practice

Code of practice for the supply of rodents in research

Code of practice for the supply of aquatics in research

Sharing and archiving

Sharing and archiving of genetically altered mice

NC3Rs resource hub: Genetically altered mice

Frozen embryo and sperm archive (FESA)


International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium

Non-human primates

MRC Centre for Macaques

NC3Rs guidelines on primate accommodation, care and use

NC3Rs resource hub: the welfare of non-human primates

Other useful links

European Animal Research Association (EARA)

Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments (FRAME)

Home Office: research and testing using animals

Institute of Animal Technology (IAT)

Laboratory Animal Science Association (LASA)

MRC Harwell

National Centre for the Replacement Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs)

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA)

Understanding Animal Research (UAR)


Talking about animals in research – if you are a researcher who would like advice about talking about your research, please contact the MRC communications team.

Visiting an animal facility – if you are a journalist, please contact the MRC press office to arrange a visit. You will usually need to give a few days’ notice so they can arrange for a member of staff to give a tour and sterilise any equipment you need to bring. Some facilities can also accommodate small groups and schools.

Find out more about visiting a facility

Can I take photos and film inside the facility?

Yes, but please let us know in advance so that we can sterilise it for you. Our animal facilities are highly controlled to ensure that nothing comes in that could affect the animals’ health – we even filter the water coming into the building. Bear in mind that cleaning your equipment will take around 48 hours.

Will the cleaning process damage my camera?

We have never had an issue with the cleaning process damaging film or digital cameras. We clean equipment by putting it into a sealed chamber and pouring in vaporised hydrogen peroxide. We use the same process for our own equipment like fridges and freezers. The hydrogen peroxide cleans every surface and ensures the equipment is sterile and ready for you to use on the day.

I always clean my equipment carefully – do I still need to send it in?

Yes. We are committed to reducing the number of animals used in research as well as developing and using non-animal models. We use centralised animal facilities partly so that we know the only factors that change in the centre are to do with essential research. If dirt, infection or anything else that could affect the animals were to enter the building, researchers would no longer know whether results were accurate, and experiments might need to be repeated or even abandoned. By controlling these variables, we can use the smallest possible number of animals.

I have pets – can I still visit?

Let us know in advance and we can advise you. Requirements vary at different centres depending on the animals that live there – for example at the Mary Lyon Centre you must have had no contact with a rodent for 48 hours before you visit to protect the animals in the centre from infection.

What should I wear?

Bear in mind you will be asked to change into protective clothing before entering the centre. You will be provided with overshoes, overclothes, hair covers, beard covers and any other item necessary to protect the environment where the animals live.

UAR media centre – free resources, including the media centre with resources and links for journalists.


Documents which have been superseded by more up-to-date guidance can be found here for information:

Last updated: 17 June 2022

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