Overview / Significance
- This Act makes it illegal to carry out experiments or procedures on any vertebrate which
may cause it pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm and regulates the use of animals in
- The Act regulates work on free-living animals as well as on laboratory animals.
- Requirements include a named person responsible for the day to day care of the animals
and a named veterinary surgeon available to provide advice on the health and welfare of
- A named veterinary surgeon is required for e.g. fieldwork with wild animals even though
this takes place outside a designated establishment.
- Licences are issued by the Home Office.
- Both a project licence and a personal licence is required if a "regulated
procedure" (defined as "any experimental or other scientific procedure
causing...pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm") is to be carried out for
the purposes of research.
- This includes e.g.
- anaesthetising an animal in order to tag or tattoo the animal to allow monitoring after
- taking a blood sample for research purposes.
- The Act prohibits actions such as anaesthetising an animal or taking a blood
sample from an animal for research purposes without both a personal licence and a project
licence from the Home Office. (J35.147.w1) This
would be likely to include procedures such as abdominal radio-transmitters and other
invasive forms of marking. (V.w6)
- Taking extra blood over and above that needed for diagnosis is a grey area and a Home
Office Licence might be required. The Home Office should be consulted. (J35.147.w1)
- If an animal is anaesthetised for welfare reasons it could legally be tagged or tattooed
during the recovery period - but a licence would still be required if the animal were of a
species for which a licence was required for marking. (J35.147.w)
- Extending the period of anaesthesia to allow marking might require a Home Office
- Under the Removal of Antlers in Velvet (Anaesthetics) Order the removal of deer
antlers while they are in velvet must be undertaken with the deer under anaesthesia
sufficient to prevent pain. Exceptions are made for removal of antlers in an emergency to
save life or relieve pain, and for experiments authorised under the Act.