Useful Links

The following links contain further information about laboratory animals and the legislation. 

• Legislation
• European Commission (EC)
• Replacement, Reduction and Refinement (3Rs)
• Laboratory Animal Organisations
• Education and Training
• Other Links & Articles
           o 2018
           o 2017
           o 2016
           o 2015


Directive 2010/63/EU 

This is the European Directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes which was adopted on 22 September 2010.

S.I. No. 543 of 2012 – European Union (Protection of Animals Used for Scientific Purposes) Regulations 2012 
European Directive 2010/63/EU was transposed into Irish law as statutory instrument 543 of 2012 and the HPRA is the competent authority for these Regulations.

S.I No. 434 of 2013
This is a short amendment to S.I. No. 543 of 2012, which established the National Committee on 1 December 2013 and made other minor changes.

S.I. No. 174 of 2014
This is a further short amendment to S.I. No. 543 of 2012, which gives effect to the establishment of a common reporting format for statistical information to the EU. 


European Commission (EC)

EC website for animals used for scientific purposes

The EC website contains useful information regarding the implementation of the legislation, the 3Rs, statistics and latest updates. 
EC publications and guidance material
This page of the EC website provides a link to free downloadable colour posters and guidance documents on important topics including: animal welfare bodies, education and training, inspection and enforcement, project evaluation and retrospective assessment, as well as severity assessment. 


Replacement, Reduction and Refinement (3Rs)

Please see our 3Rs page which contains a number of useful links. 


Laboratory Animal Organisations

Irish Laboratory Animal Science Association (ILASA)
ILASA’s aim is to promote high ethical and welfare standards in the use of animals for scientific purposes, and the website contains information about membership and the latest updates. 
Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Associations (FELASA)
FELASA represents common interests in the furtherance of all aspects of laboratory animal science and beyond. The website provides access to useful guidelines, recommendations and reports which are published by expert working groups on topics such as health monitoring, training and education, transgenics, veterinary care of laboratory animals and ethical review.

Institute of Animal Technology (IAT)
The IAT website contains information about the use of animals in research and careers in animal technology. 
Laboratory Animal Science Association (LASA)
The LASA website contains information about membership, the UK legislation, openness on animal research, as well as useful publications on topics including: severe suffering, good practice for animal welfare bodies and ethics committees, and a guide on aseptic surgery. 
Laboratory Animals Veterinary Association (LAVA)
LAVA is a non-territorial specialist division of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), intended for veterinarians with an interest in laboratory animals, and membership is required to access resources. 
This joint website is for members of the European Society of Laboratory Animal Veterinarians (ESLAV) and the European College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ECLAM). 


Education and Training 

Use of live animals for scientific, educational or other purposes

This weblink, which is hosted by the Department of Education and Skills and has been developed in cooperation with the HPRA, provides information on the use of animals in primary and secondary schools in Ireland.

Please click on our Training Requirements & Courses page for links to course providers.   

Other Links & Articles*


FELASA/ECLAM/ESLAV Working Group Report on Severity

This report delivers guidance on the assignment of severity, both prospectively and at the end of a procedure. A number of animal models are used to illustrate the severity assessment process. This report is essential reading in all establishments. The report is free to download:
• Smith, David, et al. "Classification and reporting of severity experienced by animals used in scientific procedures: FELASA/ECLAM/ESLAV Working Group report." Laboratory animals (2018)

Norecopa meetings calendar

Norecopa has created a comprehensive meetings calendar for upcoming (and past) meetings / workshops / conferences relevant to laboratory animal science and the 3Rs.

Webinar on refined handling techniques in mice

A webinar outlining refined techniques for handling and picking up mice is now available to watch online. This webinar outlines the evidence base supporting refined handling techniques in mice as well as practical advice and tips that can be implemented within institutions.

HARRP guidelines

The International Council for Laboratory Animal Science (ICLAS) has recently published a set of principles for better reporting called HARRP (Harmonized Animal Research Reporting Principles). These principles aim to improve the quality of animal based research and encourage complete and accurate reporting of animal based studies.
• Osborne N, et al., Harmonized Animal Research Reporting Principles (HARRP), the first step of a unified approach by ICLAS to improve research reporting standards worldwide. EMBO reports (2018).

Facial indicators of positive emotions in birds

This article argues that variation in crown feather height and pupil area may provide indications of positive emotion in Japanese quail, and suggests that facial indicators may potentially be used to assess positive emotions in birds in the future.

Facial expressions in piglets undergoing tail docking and castration

This article evaluated the utility of a Grimace Scale applied to neonatal pigs to evaluate pain. While more research is needed to assess its full effectiveness, and the influence of possible confounds, the article reported that orbital tightening may have the potential to be applied to investigate painful conditions in neonatal pigs.




This is a free database that lists tissues associated with mouse models of breast cancer, and makes them available without charge to scientists. This should foster collaborations, reduce duplication and therefore promote the principle of Reduction.
Facial assessment pain scale in horses

A paper has been published in The Veterinary Journal which validates a facial assessment pain scale in horses with acute or postoperative pain originating from the head:

• Van Loon, J. P., & van Dierendonck, M. C. (2017). Monitoring equine head-related pain with the Equine Utrecht University scale for facial assessment of pain (EQUUS-FAP). The Veterinary Journal.

Results of mouse studies affected by the way the animals are handled

A new study, funded by the NC3Rs, has shown that how mice are picked up can substantially change their behaviour in cognitive tests, with the benefits of non-aversive tunnel handling highlighted. This paper should be of interest to anyone working with mice.

Asepsis in rodent surgery

World renowned laboratory animal veterinarian, Prof Paul Flecknell, has written a blog for the NC3Rs about ensuring asepsis in rodent surgery. This is interesting reading for anyone undertaking surgery.
Guidance on how to provide useful animal research web pages

This document has been prepared by the NC3Rs to help universities to provide useful and informative animal research web pages, particularly in relation to the 3Rs. This is a helpful document for universities wishing to enhance their communication with the public on their animal research programmes.
Guidelines on how to perform welfare assessments on genetically altered mice and rats

These are useful to determine the presence of a harmful phenotype, and its severity in GA mice and rats. They have been produced by the Working Group of Animal Welfare Officers in Berlin and published in Laboratory Animals. These guidelines should provide a structured approach to welfare assessment of genetically modified lines, and thus will be beneficial to scientists, veterinarians and animal care staff.


FLAIR e-learning resources

This website provides free e-learning courses on laboratory animals, such as anaesthesia and the prevention of pain, suffering and distress.

NC3Rs neonate assessment

This article provides information on the assessment of welfare of neonatal mice in breeding programmes.

European Commission’s project evaluation guide
This provides useful background information regarding what the project evaluation process involves.

Alternative to metabolic caging for rodent urine collection – hydrophobic sand

Hydrophobic sand has been developed as an alternative to restraining laboratory rodents in order to obtain a urine sample. The use of this sand is not considered a procedure by Directive 2010/63/EU, and so users are legally obliged to implement this refinement.

Experimental Design Assistant

This is a free tool created to help researchers design robust and reproducible experiments using the minimum number of animals.


NC3Rs laboratory dog resource

This provides information on welfare assessment and refinement in dogs.

Mouse and Rat Grimace scales

Free A3 posters of the grimace scales can be ordered here.

RSPCA guide to ethical review

This is a resource for lay members of ethical review and similar bodies.

Article on ending severe suffering
This article provides tips on how to reduce severe procedures in establishments.

Fighting cancer: Animal research at Cambridge

A short film from the University of Cambridge about animal research

RSPCA report on refining arthritis models

This report provides tips on how to refine rheumatoid arthritis rodent models.
NC3Rs animal handling techniques page

This provides information for the most non-aversive methods for handling laboratory animals.

* Through this website you are able to link to other websites which are not under the control of the HPRA. We have no control over the nature, content and availability of those sites. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply that the HPRA recommends or endorses the views expressed within these linked websites.