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Historically, invertebrate species have been thought to have less developed sensory systems and considered less likely to experience pain; for this reason they are not covered by ASPA legislation.
As a result they are covered by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act (ASPA), the UK legislation for regulation of animal research.
However, trillions of invertebrates – animals without a backbone such as insects, worms, crustaceans and molluscs – are used each year for research into a range of topics including genetics, health and food security.
Animal research can be a costly business, so lack of provision of humane conditions can also lead to major financial losses.
Finally, there are major legal implications to consider.
This ethical dilemma can motivate a researcher to ensure that research is carried out in a highly humane and responsible manner.
It may also assure a strong rationale and high degree of experimental rigour so that results are meaningful and valid.
Maintaining the welfare of animals is also of considerable benefit to researchers.
For example, where animals are sick or in discomfort, results will be highly flawed.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a Strategic Partner.
more Every year, millions of animals are used in scientific research across the UK.