Latest news

Our 2022 Summer School Graduates

Our Summer School returned a triumphant success after a forced virtual event last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This summer saw 16 early career scientists from leading universities work on projects to find treatments for human diseases using cutting-edge, humane research.


POLL: Majority of Conservative Party members support helping scientists replace animals in medical experiments  

A new YouGov survey has found that 77% of Conservative Party members would support the Government helping UK scientists replace animal experiments in medical research with new technologies such as computer modelling and organ-on-a-chip.  


Our podcast exclusive with Harvard University’s organ-on-a-chip pioneer, Dr Don Ingber

World-class pioneer of biomedical research and innovation, Dr Don Ingber, is the special guest on the next edition of the Animal Free Labcast, aired from Wednesday August 10, 2022.


Our best bits: 2021 in review

2021 was a tough year for many, but there was also lots to feel hopeful about as highlighted in our inspiring new Year In Review report. Thanks to our brilliant supporters, scientists and partners, Animal Free Research UK made both great and incremental change towards a kinder science for people and animals.


Modernising Medical Research: our 2022 conference

Across two days in Birmingham, we discussed our collective desire to benefit human health by pioneering, perfecting and transitioning to modern animal free medical research. We heard from the best in our field – from veterans and early career scientists alike.


Dr Don Ingber, inaugural Animal Free Research Pioneer

Don Ingber is a world class pioneer. In 2010, he developed a lung-on-a-chip – the first of its kind – and since then has continued to lead the field by developing numerous other organ chip models. His work has been pivotal to numerous breakthroughs, enabling technologies that are revolutionising research and serving as a solid platform for progress towards understanding human biology and disease.


New Animal Free Research Community of Practice for medical researchers launched

A one-of-its-kind online community aimed at improving communication among biomedical scientists has been launched by the Alliance for Human Relevant Science and Animal Free Research UK.


Our SEIB Giving award!

This week Animal Free Research UK was recognised at the annual SEIB Giving awards and awarded £6000 by SEIB insurance brokers for our cutting-edge breast cancer research at Aberdeen University.


Increase in animal experiments demands Government must act now to modernise medical research

Latest Home Office figures published today show spikes in use of dogs, monkeys, cats and horses  – even though their use fails to benefit human health  


There’s no time to lose in modernising medical research

A new paper calls for medical research to be modernised and summarises the strong scientific, ethical and economic case for replacing misleading animal experiments with cutting-edge, human relevant techniques.


Eight steps to ending the medical research emergency

85% of deaths in high income countries like the UK are due to diseases like heart disease, dementia and stroke. Yet, despite huge investment into disease research and drug development, these diseases remain poorly understood and still lack adequate treatments. Patients and their families are giving up hope.


A giant leap for human relevant science and Animal Free Research UK.

Thanks to Labour MP Luke Pollard, we were able to host an afternoon reception during which launched our Eight Steps to Accelerate Human Relevant Innovation – a manifesto that sets out how the UK can become a world leader in finding next generation treatments to improve the lives of patients faster, and all without animal suffering.


UK’s first Helpathon to accelerate human-relevant science announced

The Alliance for Human Relevant Science and Animal Free Research UK have teamed up with Dutch partners from the Transition Programme for Innovation to launch Britain’s first Helpathon.


Dame Joanna Lumley calls on government to overhaul UK’s outdated medical research

Dame Joanna Lumley delivered a speech in the House of Commons and called on the government to launch  a formal inquiry into how the UK conducts medical research.


Pioneering organ-on-a-chip companies like Emulate are helping scientists go animal free

For early career scientists, the meeting was a great opportunity to learn more about what is being done with organs-on-a-chip, and to discuss how it can be improved to pave the way for more reliable and humane approaches in biomedical research and toxicology.


The future of Parkinson’s disease research

The recently published proceedings of a scientific workshop on Parkinson’s disease research has highlighted the incredible power of human-specific methods of investigation


The organ-on-a-chip field is at tipping point

Whenever Professor Don Ingber of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering gives his take on disease modelling, drug development and personalised medicine, you can be sure biomedical scientists, pharmaceutic industry and clinicians tune in.


Animal Sentience Bill approved by Parliament

Our animal protection community is rightly celebrating this week as parliament formally recognised that animals have emotions and feelings. The Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill passed its final hurdle in the House of Lords. Once the Bill receives Royal Assent, the new law will be known as the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act 2022.


New approach methodologies will allow us to help all of the people all of the time

New approach methodologies will allow us to help all of the people all of the time, writes neuroscientist and physiologist, Professor Amanda Ellison


Stress Awareness Month for humans, but what about animals in laboratories?

Few deny life in the 21st Century is stressful for humans so Stress Awareness Month, which falls every April, is a welcome diary date to reconnect with ourselves and regain certainty and control – but what about animals in laboratories?


MP Henry Smith hosts Animal Free Research UK to showcase British Science Week

MP Henry Smith hosted Animal Free Research in Parliament today MARCH 16 to help showcase how cutting-edge medical technology is transforming the search for cures and treatments for human diseases.


The death of the first person to receive a pig heart transplant is not in vain

The procedure – known as xenotransplantation – was heralded in headlines around the world as the success story of the century, with many including patients and their relatives, hoping it marked a new beginning for health care.  


In these uncertain times, the minds of brilliant women are needed now more than ever

Though it might be hard right now to imagine a world shaped by compassion and equality, it’s vital we never lose sight of the enduring spirit of humanity that exists amid the foreboding headlines of heartlessness and division. So let’s remember today, on International Women’s Day, the many extraordinary women helping to make the world a better place.


We must move forward as one to #BreakTheBias

To mark International Women’s Day, Animal Free Research UK’s Niamh Haslett observes though many equality battles have been won – especially in science – victory cannot be declared until all women live free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination


New human-relevant approaches to study the spread of cancer cells – Large Research Grant (2016-2021)

Dr Adrian Biddle is a group leader and senior lecturer in animal replacement science within the Centre for Cell Biology and Cutaneous Research at the Blizard Institute, Queen’s Medical University London. His research interest is cancer stem cells in oral cancer and the importance of using human disease models for studies of tumour spread and therapeutic resistance.


Healing broken hearts top priority this Valentine’s Day for University of Nottingham researchers

‘Mini Hearts’ Project funded by Animal Free Research UK deploys cutting edge human stem cell technology to better understand heart disease which affects nearly 1m Britons annually.


International Day of Women & Girls in Science

In 2021, out of more than 600 Nobel medals awarded in scientific disciplines, only 23 went to women. According to UNESCO, today, only 33 per cent of researchers in the world are women. This clearly highlights a lack of diversity in science.


Britain must practice a kinder science

So, half a century since I first started to stand up for animals, I recently found myself walking up Downing Street to hand into Number 10 a petition signed by over 100,000 people.


Cruelty Free International, Animal Free Research UK and OneKind hand over petition calling on the government to end animal testing for good

The petition has gained the public’s support, with over 101,000 signatures. It was originally launched following the release of the most recent annual Home Office data which highlighted the continued lack of reduction in animal testing numbers in Great Britain.


First heart transplant into a human from a genetically modified pig is not only ethically wrong – it is already obsolete

When 57-year-old American David Bennett received a genetically modified pig’s heart, many believed the world-first transplant procedure threw a lifeline to the millions suffering or likely to suffer serious heart disease.


Results from our animal free research could be a game changer in the fight against Covid-19

Animal Free Research UK funded scientists Professor Lorna Harries and Summer School protégé Merlin Davies from our ARC 2.0 at Exeter University explain how they created a PCR test that identifies if someone is still infectious with the disease.


Animal Free Research UK’s Patron Joanna Lumley awarded a Damehood in the New Year’s Honours 2022 

Animal Free Research UK Patron, actress and celebrated animal welfare campaigner Joanna Lumley, has been made a Dame in the 2022 New Year Honours list for her services to drama, entertainment and charitable causes. 


Animal Free Research UK Science Conference postponed until Spring 2022

The decision to move the annual event  – which was due to take place next week at Birmingham’s Millennium Point – was made after consultation with delegates about the uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 Omnicom variant.


Harvard University’s Dr Donald Ingber awarded Animal Free Research UK’s Pioneer Award

Dr Ingber  – who helped create organ-on-a-chip technology that has advanced medical research – will receive the specially commissioned accolade during Animal Free Research UK’s international Science Conference in Birmingham next month, December 14-15th, and will give a keynote speech.


Animal Free Research UK appoints Prof Michael Balls as Honorary Scientific Advisor

A champion of non-animal test methods in toxicity and safety testing, he takes up the voluntary role with immediate effect, and will offer his decades of experience direct to the charity’s CEO Carla Owen and Science Director Dr Jarrod Bailey. 


Exeter University researchers make breakthrough in loss of insulin-producing cells in diabetics

New research carried out by Exeter University and charity Animal Free Research UK has found important insights into the changes that can occur in insulin-producing cells  – known as beta cells –  in people with diabetes which could help protect them and find new ways to treat the condition.


#TargetZero petition debated in Parliament

October 25th marked a significant event for animals in laboratories, as two high-profile petitions about animal experiments were debated in Parliament. One of these resulted from the #TargetZero campaign, which is a collaboration between Animal Free Research UK, Cruelty Free International and OneKind.


The economic case for modernising medical research

Medical research urgently needs to be modernised. Several thousand diseases affect humans but only around 500 have treatments available. As to why we have made only such modest wins in our long fight against human illness lies in the three million animals used in British laboratories each year.


Cutting-edge medical research techniques to contribute £2.5 billion to UK economy by 2026

New economic report for Animal Free Research UK shows bold investment in new approach methodologies – aka NAMs – could see better treatments for patients, benefit economy and make Britain a science superpower.


We’re at a point in science now that would have been science fiction not that long ago

In the cosmetics industry, the most common animals used for testing are guinea pigs, rabbits, rats, and mice. According to the Humane Society International, globally, around 500,000 animals die in cosmetic testing every year. 


Our Summer School students gave us good glimpse of the animal free future

All those who attended our recent Summer School’s graduation event should feel optimistic and excited about the future – especially for animal free research.


Animal Free Research UK launches Pioneer Medal

The UK’s science community is today invited to nominate trailblazing scientists for a new award. The Pioneer Medal recognises and celebrates scientists carrying out animal free research which can deliver more effective treatments for human diseases faster than current methods.


A call to modernise medical research for the benefit of public health

We write as scientists and professionals dedicated to accelerating medical progress. To tackle the ‘seven great healthcare challenges’ set out in the Government’s Life Sciences Vision (Cancer, Dementia, Mental Health, Obesity, Ageing, Respiratory Disease and Vaccines), we believe that medical research urgently needs to be modernised.


ARC 1.0 team receive Fanconi Anaemi funding boost

Fanconi anaemia is a rare genetic disorder associated with multiple birth defects, increased risk of leukaemia and solid tumours, and progressive aplastic anaemia which is a serious condition that occurs when the body stops producing enough blood cells.


Summer School prodigy Niamh returns for world first antibodies project

Summer School Class of 2018 graduate Niamh Haslett has joined the Animal Free Research UK team for two ground-breaking projects. She will as part of a joint team effort help design a new rapid results test for the presence of opioids using novel detection methods without using antibodies taken from animals.


Animal Free Research UK welcomes government review to end animal experiments

Media reports over the weekend said Home Secretary Priti Patel has tasked to officials to find ways to end the use of animals in the development of medicines. 


Biomedical Research Must Change — But a Shift Toward Human-specific Research Methods Is Only Part of What Is Needed

Animal Free Research UK’s Science Director, Dr Jarrod Bailey, writes article for ATLA (Alternatives to Laboratory Animals):


History must not repeat itself – sign our #TargetZero petition

Stars from Harry Potter, Downton Abbey and Made in Chelsea re-enact a historic moment of protest in the UK animal protection movement to call for an end to animal testing in the UK.


Pioneering Summer Student Programme returns

Animal Free Research UK has reopened its prestigious Summer Student programme after a forced absence last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.


Pilot Study Success Story

Animal Free Research UK funding has enabled Dr Paul Holloway at Oxford University to secure a £150,000 grant with Cambridge University and an Oxford-based biotech company to use their organ-on-a-chip system to test a novel therapeutic approach to treat genetic stroke disorders.


Dr Jarrod Bailey joins Animal Free Research UK as Science Director

Dr Bailey joins from The Centres of Contemporary Science where he was Director of Science and Technology. In his new role, he will oversee all Animal Free Research UK’s science operations including the charity’s ground-breaking Animal Replacement Centres – ARCs.


Joanna Lumley: Britain should lead the way in ending animal experiments

The animal-free revolution cuts experiment times, makes research cheaper and, crucially, produces more reliable data on potential drugs to treat and cure deadly diseases from cancer to Alzheimer’s.


How can UK the lead the world in science and animal welfare?

Every minute of every day, six animals are used in research in the UK. Yet as our new Modernise Medical Research Report highlights,  forward-thinking researchers are making inspirational progress in the development of high-tech alternatives, such as organ-on-a-chip technology.


Join us today to create a brighter future for animals and humans

50 YEARS AGO, a small group of likeminded citizens gathered to discuss their collective goal – to end experiments on animals.


We need bold action to modernise medical research

We want you to join us by asking your MP to urge the Prime Minister to set up a dedicated department or ministerial position to accelerate the replacement of animals with high-tech alternatives.


The beginning of the end of animal-based research is within our grasp

50 years ago, American President Richard Nixon launched his so called War on Cancer – yet still the battles rage on all fronts and the casualties continue to mount.


Animal cruelty probe into Europe’s labs should shock us all into action

Responding to the investigation by Cruelty Free International that has exposed widespread animal suffering in Europe’s laboratories.


Poll: Clear majority of Britons want end to animal testing in UK labs

Survey by YouGov also shows majority of Brits (60%) want the Government to better fund pioneering technologies to replace animals used in medical experiments.


Budget 2021: At a glance

Reacting to the Budget 2021 by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak: The budget doubles down on the Government’s commitment to make the UK a science superpower.


Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science

To mark International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we caught up with Kerri Palmer, Animal Free Research UK PhD Student at the University of Aberdeen, who is part of the Animal Free Research UK project to identify an effective strategy for preventing breast cancer.


Home Office licences reveal the millions of animals set to suffer and die in experiments  

The Home Office has published details of the licences it granted for animal experiments during the first half of 2020, showing that the Government granted 235 new licences to researchers, allowing them to carry out experiments on over 5.5 million animals.


Patron Joanna Lumley OBE writes in the Daily Telegraph that Britain must embrace the high-tech alternatives to animal testing

Britain must embrace the high-tech alternatives to animal testing. Three million animals are used in research in this country each year. That doesn’t have to be the case.


Let’s make it loud and clear to MPs: only animal free research can make Britain a world science leader

The power of science to do good has been unequivocally demonstrated. The imminent Covid-19 vaccination roll-out to protect the nation is something we can all celebrate.


Accelerating animal free research

Achieving a world where human diseases are cured faster without animal suffering is going to take transformational change in legislation and regulations governing medical research. That’s why Animal Free Research UK is working to ensure our issue gains a prominent place on the political agenda.


On World Vegan Day we unite to end animal cruelty

On Sunday  – November 1  –  we’ll be joining the 600,000 people across the UK choosing a plant-based diet to celebrate World Vegan Day, and the start of World Vegan Month.


Why Nobel Prize-winning CRISPR should be the game-changer for animals

Animal Free Research UK’s CEO Carla Owen and Science Manager Dr Alpesh Patel explain, CRISPR can be a game-changer for humans but also for animals – if researchers have the courage and imagination to do things differently.


New Parliamentary group calls for human relevant science moonshot

A new All-Party Parliamentary Group today held its first AGM with the aim of accelerating the development and uptake of human relevant sciences in the UK.


THE NEXT GENERATION OF SCIENTISTS

Part of our mission at Animal Free Research UK is to inspire and support scientists. We want to train a new generation of scientists who are excited to develop animal free techniques and create a step change in the culture of research.


PROF AMANDA ELLISON Q&A

Having completed a postdoc fellowship at Oxford University funded by Animal Free Research UK, Amanda, a neuroscientist who has been in the field for over 20 years, is now on our board of trustees to help champion human relevant science.


COVID-19 RAPID RESPONSE GRANT PROGRAMME

In May, in partnership with Kirkstall Ltd, we launched a call for proposals from scientists centered around the use of innovative organ-on-a-chip technology. Together, we are providing cutting edge organ-on-a-chip systems to researchers without charge, to target solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Living our values

Our charity is firmly rooted in the social justice movement. We believe that experiments on animals are ethically unjustified and that pioneering animal free research provides the best chance of finding treatments for human diseases. We want to change the world for the better – to benefit both people and animals.


3.4% decrease in animal experiments is wasted opportunity as COVID-19 forces change to medical testing regime

Animal Free Research UK has today condemned yet another wasted opportunity to make real progress with a decrease of just 3.4% in experiments on animals in GB laboratories in 2019, announced by the Home Office this morning.


A call to accelerate human-focussed medical research

We are calling for a change of mindset and a clear timetable for regulatory change to enable accelerated development of medicines which are likely to be safer, more effective and cheaper, without the use of animals.


COVID-19 Open Letter

Animal Free Research UK is one of almost 100 leading experts this week calling for advanced animal free research methods to be prioritised to accelerate the discovery of effective vaccines and treatments for COVID-19.


Organs-on-a-chip for COVID-19

We all want to do our bit to help the COVID-19 effort, which is why I’m proud to announce a new partnership between the company I founded, Kirkstall Ltd, and Animal Free Research UK.  Together we are today launching a call for proposals from UK scientists centred around the use of innovative organ-on-a-chip technology. 


Why a new COVID-19 diagnostic test is urgently needed 

We are in the midst of a major pandemic with COVID-19. Such major outbreaks seem to occur about every 200 years, although in recent years we have experienced a number of epidemics based largely around mutation of viruses.


The COVID-19 Vaccine Paradox

Utilising human relevant test subjects – i.e. people – in the fight for a COVID-19 vaccine sets a powerful precedent for testing treatments where the components of technology and resultant medicines have already been established as safe in humans.


COVID-19: A horizon of hope 

As COVID-19 continues to rampage across the world threatening our health, economy and traditions, we find ourselves in a time of unprecedented uncertainty and complexity.


Accelerating the Growth of Human Relevant Life Sciences in the UK

The Alliance for Human Relevant Science, of which Animal Free Research UK is a founding member, has today called for a fresh approach to biomedical research and drug discovery.


Changing the debate on animal research

Animal research has long been a controversial issue: the debate is emotive and highly divisive, yet it has done little to capture the public imagination in the way that other social justice movements, such as Climate Change and #MeToo, have managed to achieve.


Q&A with Hayley McMillan, chronic pain researcher

PhD student Hayley is part of the research team at Queen’s University Belfast looking at chronic pain using a model made from dental pulp.


Ground-breaking diabetes research published

Our researchers at Exeter University have published their revolutionary new study into diabetes.


Q&A with Kerri Palmer, breast cancer researcher

PhD student Kerri is working hard to find better ways to prevent breast cancer thanks to your generous donations. We caught up with her during our visit to Aberdeen to see how she’s getting on.


Q&A with Nicola Jeffery, diabetes researcher

With your support, Dr Nicola Jeffery was awarded her PhD in December by studying diabetes using animal free techniques. We caught up with her over a cup of coffee to see how she is settling in to her new research project.


Coming soon: New funding to develop human relevant methods to fight human disease

We’re delighted to announce we’ll be opening our next grant call on 3 June 2019.


Cloning monkeys is a step backwards for medical research

Animal Free Research UK is deeply disappointed by today’s news that yet more monkeys are being needlessly cloned for medical experiments.


Celebrating our Outstanding Fundraisers

This summer, we’ve been visiting our fundraising groups and Community Ambassadors and presenting them with awards to recognise and reward their amazing fundraising and volunteering for Animal Free Research UK.


Animal experiments in GB: 2017 statistics

More must be done to urgently replace animal experiments say leading researchers as Home Office releases annual statistics.


Our new Science Director

We are delighted to announce that Dr Hazel Jackson has been appointed our new Science Director.


How cosmetic surgery can help us beat skin cancer

Professor Mike Philpott explains how his team of expert researchers are helping to replace the use of animals and test potential drugs in human skin, head and neck cancer.


Our new CEO

We are delighted to announce that Carla Owen has been appointed our new CEO. Carla joins us after 10 years at Cruelty Free International where she was their Director of Development, Marketing and Communications.


Get to know our brain tumour scientist, Professor Geoff Pilkington

Animal Free Research UK are funding Professor Geoff Pilkington at the University of Portsmouth to develop better ways of treating patients with brain tumours. We caught up with him to discover more about the scientist behind the all-human brain tumour research.


Sheree starts her scientific career with a conscience

Sheree Smith is determined to start her scientific career with a conscience. She is just one of the next generation of scientists that can begin and live their careers without using animals. This is her story.


We celebrate our scientists, students, supporters and staff this International Women’s day

On International Women’s Day, we hear from some incredible women helping us in different ways to free animals from laboratories for good. With their help we can replace the use of animals in research with human-relevant, non-animal methods of biomedical research.


2018 Summer Studentships and Fellowships Launched

We are very pleased to announce the launch of the 2018 Summer Studentship scheme for undergraduate students and the Alan & Kathie Stross Summer Fellowship scheme.


All-party Parliamentary Dog Advisory Welfare Group meeting

Can continuing animal use in research, including the use of experiments on dogs, be justified ethically and scientifically? We found out at the All-Party Parliamentary Dog Advisory Welfare Group meeting.


Labour’s Animal Welfare Plan

Animal Free Research UK is pleased to see that animal welfare is slowly becoming more prominent in UK political debate, brought into the spotlight today with the release of the Labour Party’s 50-point plan on animal welfare. The inclusion of policy points regarding animals used in research is particularly encouraging.


Meet Liz our 2018 London Marathon runner

Supporter Liz Begg is our only London Marathon runner for 2018.  Read Liz’s story and find out why she is supporting animal free medical research with her ninth and final ever marathon.


Monkey clones born as animal research models

Animal Free Research UK is angered by the news that the first monkey clones have been born for use as animal research models.


Can you become a doctor without experimenting on animals?

Fergus is a vegan medical student at the University of Glasgow, who avoids the use of animal research. We spoke to him to find out more about his experience as an animal free medical student.


Rescued lab rats inspire wedding fundraising

Supporter Roisin McAuley explains how rescued lab rats inspired her to fundraise for Animal Free Research UK at her wedding.


MPs reject inclusion of animal sentience in UK law

We respond to the MP vote against bringing a clause from EU Protocol on animal sentience into domestic law when the UK leaves the EU in March 2019.


Summer Student Nefisa Marium shines a light on vitamin D

Former Summer Student, Nefisa Marium, has made a significant contribution to the publication of a scientific research paper, which shows that maintaining sufficient vitamin D levels may help to prevent the onset of inflammatory diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis.


Home Office Statistics Announcement 2017

The Home Office today announced the latest numbers on the scientific procedures performed on live animals in Great Britain in 2016. The total number of procedures performed went down from 2015 by 5% to 3.94 million procedures. This included 4,932 procedures on 3,530 dogs, 3,569 procedures on 2,440 primates. 3.87 million animals were used overall.


Jump 10,000 ft for animals!

Take on an awe-inspiring skydive, just like 70 year old supporter Andrew did. Raise funds to help get animals out of the lab, celebrate World Animal Day and show animals that you care!


Maw the Magnificent

Running the marathon to support animal free research and investment in ethical, rigorous and evidence based science.


Dr Hadwen Trust becomes Animal Free Research

On Monday 3 April 2017 we officially changed from the Dr Hadwen Trust to the working name of Animal Free Research UK.


Steph’s sponsored slim

As well as coordinating the fundraising group in Bude and raising A LOT of funds for us as a group, Steph Jones-Giles has personally raised £4,000 for our heart research!


Launch of the Alliance for Human Relevant Science

On 8th February 2017, Safer Medicines Trust, Dr Hadwen Trust, Kirkstall, Cyprotex and CN Bio Innovations launched the Alliance for Human Relevant Science in the House of Commons.


The Animal Replacement Centre of Excellence (The ARC)

The highly respected Downton Abbey actor, Peter Egan, who is a Patron of the Dr Hadwen Trust, launched The Animal Replacement Centre of Excellence (The ARC) on October 24th 2016.


Funding to help the dead give life through new clinical training and device testing

We are delighted to announce we have awarded a grant amounting to £311K to support the University of Dundee’s pioneering work with Thiel embalmed human cadavers.