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Today, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published the results of its survey of public attitudes to animal research. The survey, conducted by Ipsos Mori in spring 2016, explored the awareness and perceptions of the public related to the use of animals in research, and to alternatives to animals.

Of the 987 people questioned in the survey, the majority (65%) can accept the use of animals in medical research where there are no alternatives.

This is the first time that the poll has been conducted since the launch of the Concordat on Openness in 2014. The Concordat, signed by over 100 organisations, promotes public communication about the use of animals in research.

The survey revealed some progress towards greater public awareness of science sector activity, with an increase in the proportion of people who think that scientists are working to find alternatives to animals, an important principle of efforts to reduce, refine and replace the use of animals in research – known as the 3Rs. However, the survey also reveals that further progress is still required as only 12% of people remembered hearing anything about animal research in the previous 12 months.

The Royal Society of Biology supports the use of animals in research when properly regulated and when no alternatives exist. The Society is a signatory to the Concordat on Openness and supports progress towards a reduction in the use of animals by refining experiments and developing new ways to minimise the use of and replace animals wherever possible.

Comment from Dr Mark Downs CSci FRSB, chief executive, Royal Society of Biology:
"This survey result reminds the bioscience sector to continue to build on the work of recent years, including under the Concordat on Openness, to strive to increase public understanding about how and why animals are used in research. The poll reveals that the majority of the public want to know more about animal research, including about how scientists are working to improve welfare and find alternatives to animals. Importantly, it shows that the public continues to accept the use of animals in research when no alternatives exist."

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