Animal scientific procedures

The 'Animal Scientific Procedures Act (1986)', regulates the use of animals in scientific research in the UK. The Act requires a rigorous system of controls on scientific work on living animals, including the need for both the researcher and the project to be separately licensed, stringent safeguards on animal pain and suffering and general requirements to ensure the care and welfare of animals.

The Act and guidance can be accessed here:
Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986

Guidance on the Operation of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986

Licence application forms

All scientific work controlled by the Animal Scientific Procedures Act (ASPA) must be licenced. The procedures must be part of a programme of work authorised by a project licence and the person applying the regulated procedures must hold a personal licence. In addition, except where otherwise authorised in a project licence, any place where work is carried out under the Act must be licensed as a scientific procedure establishment.

Within Northern Ireland all ASPA licences are issued by DoH.

The 'Operational Guidance to the Animals (Scientific Procedures) act 1986' can be accessed through the Home Office website under 'Research and testing using animals'.

Statistics of scientific procedures on living animals Northern Ireland

As part of the statutory requirements of ASPA, DoH collect and publish annual statistics on the use of animals in research within Northern Ireland.

Annual returns 2023

Before submitting your annual return, please ensure that you read all three guidance documents. These documents will be kept under constant review and we recommend that users always refer to the documents on this website to ensure they are using the most up to date version.

The '2023 NI Annual Return of Procedures' form should be completed according to the instructions document. Macros must be enabled to ensure that the form validates properly. Please name the documents with the Project Licence number before sending to Health Protection.

This form will be used for all procedures completed during 2023 (that is, those to be returned to DoH in January 2024) and for all those licences revoked during 2023.

Please direct any queries to


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