< > LUK8 - Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986

General Information

The information provided within these pages provides a background to the legislation issues.

Date 1986
Wildpro "Organisations & Website" Reference
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Text Availability (e.g. HMSO / Copyright / Public Domain etc.) HMSO: Crown Copyright. The authoritative versions of Acts are usually the "Queen's Printer" copies (often published by The Stationery Office Limited). Details of how to obtain the authoritative versions are available through Website Ref - W65 - Her Majesty's Stationary Office (HMSO)
Brief 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 research.
  • 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 the animals.
  • 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 release, 
    • 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 Licence.

(B142.4.w4, J35.147.w1)

  • 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. (B223).
NOTES - Amendments / Relation to other legislation

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Specific Section References

Wildpro Reference Chapter/Paragraph Title Content Page nos.
  Removal of Antlers in Velvet (Anaesthetics) Order    

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Text from the Act


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