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NC3Rs | 20 Years: Pioneering Better Science
Guidance | Hard copy

Non-human primate accommodation, care and use guidelines

A small proportion of the research and early career awards funded by the NC3Rs, BBSRC, EPSRC, MRC, Academy of Medical Sciences, Royal Society, Wellcome Trust, CRUK and other funding bodies using the NC3Rs peer review and advice service involves the use of non-human primates.

The funding bodies recognise concerns about the use of non-human primates in research and testing, and the difficulties associated with meeting the environmental, behavioural and social needs of these highly intelligent animals in a laboratory environment.

To help address these issues, we have, in partnership with the funding bodies, produced guidelines on non-human primate accommodation, care and use.

Published: October 2017

Reference: NC3Rs (2017) Non-human primate accommodation, care and use, 2nd edition. London: NC3Rs

The guidelines were originally published in 2006 and updated in 2017. They have been instrumental in improving the housing and care of non-human primates at UK universities and other publicly funded laboratories internationally through, for example, requiring increased space for the animals, social housing and daily foraging opportunities – all of which are critical for NHP welfare. The guidelines exceed the legal minimum standards required by the UK Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and associated Codes of Practice, the US ILAR Guide (PDF), and similar international texts.

Implementation of the principles in the guidelines is a condition of receiving funds for non-human primate research (conducted in the UK and abroad) from the funding bodies.

The guidelines complement the peer review process for grant applications involving non-human primates, which takes into account welfare considerations, implementation of the 3Rs, and compliance with the guidelines, through the involvement of the NC3Rs.

Researchers (staff and grant holders) and their host establishments are responsible for applying the guidelines. It is recommended that the Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body (AWERB), or equivalent overseas, should be central to their implementation, given its role in overseeing standards of animal accommodation, care and use locally.

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