Animals in research
are dedicated to saving lives by developing better treatments
and cures for heart conditions. As part of this work we support
essential research using cells grown in a laboratory, computer
models, and human volunteers.
Where these are not feasible, we fund
research involving animals.
The British Union for the Abolition of
Vivisection (BUAV) spoke to the Sunday Express in September
2013 about research we fund
that involves dogs. We told the newspaper that every
application for our research funding goes through a rigorous
independent review procedure. Of the many hundreds of
life-saving research projects we’ve funded over the last five
years, 0.3 per cent have involved dogs.
This research is undertaken because heart
rhythm in dogs is controlled in a very similar way to ours. This
research is vital in helping us understand and treat dangerous
heart rhythm problems – known as arrhythmias – where the heart is
beating too fast or too slow.
Arrhythmias currently affect over a million
people each year in the UK and can make people feel extremely
unwell and in some cases cause sudden death. Scientists hope their
findings will help improve and save the lives of heart patients in
We actively encourage our funded researchers
to use fewer animals and look for other research methods. If that's
not possible we require them to apply the highest standards to
Our research has led
to life-saving medical advances for heart patients over the
past half century. But there's so much work to be done and, for the
foreseeable future, that will involve using animals in
All our grant applications go through a strict peer review
system when deciding which to fund. This makes sure that
all BHF-funded scientists are following a clear set of
principles - the
three Rs - to reduce the number of animals used and
maximise their welfare:
- replace with non-animal alternatives where possible
- reduce the number of animals used
- refine the care and attention of animals to achieve the highest
When our researchers do use animals, all work is carried out in
line with strict Home
This is not an issue we or our funded researchers take
The research community is constantly developing new techniques
to help us use fewer animals or non-animal models. Our scientists
carry out as much of their research as possible on human
volunteers, cells, or computers.
However, completely replacing all animals in research is not yet
possible. There is no alternative method that can reproduce the
complicated working of our hearts and circulatory systems.
More work to be done
Many of the treatments we commonly use today could not have been
developed without animal research. Heart failure medicines, pacemakers, and heart
transplants are just a few examples.
But coronary heart disease is still the UK’s single biggest
killer. We need more research to develop new treatments and help
people live longer happier lives. And sometimes, we will need
animal research to do this.
For more information please see our
Animal and Heart Research leaflet or email email@example.com.