Non-human primate accommodation, care and use

Click to download the primate accommodation, care and use guidelinesA small proportion of research, studentships or fellowships funded by the NC3Rs, BBSRC, EPSRC, MRC, Royal Society, Wellcome Trust and other AMRC charities involves the use of non-human primates.

The funding bodies recognise concerns about the use of non-human primates in research, 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.

Document: Primate accommodation, care and use (PDF, 377KB)
Published: August 2006
Reference: NC3Rs (2006) Primate accommodation, care and use. London: NC3Rs

The guidelines were published in 2006 and have been instrumental in improving the housing and care of non-human primates at UK universities and other publicly funded laboratories through, for example, requiring increased space for the animals, social housing and foraging opportunities – all of which are critical for the expression of natural behaviours. 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, 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) should be central to their implementation, given its role in overseeing standards of animal accommodation, care and use locally.

The guidelines are currently being revised and updated, with a new version due to be published October 2017.