Mapping the history of animal research as nexus will reconstruct the development, implementation, impact and evolution of A(SP)A 1986 to produce the first comprehensive historical account of UK animal research as nexus. This project is examining the historical transformation of the UK animal research nexus, from the late 20th century to the present, employing three overlapping questions mapped to chronical periods:

  1. Why did reform of the UK Cruelty to Animals Act (1876) become necessary, c.1966-1976?
  2. How did A(SP)A emerge as a new settlement for regulating UK animal research, c.1976¬1986?
  3. What consequence had A(SP)A and how has it evolved, c.1986-present?

Historical research brings empirical coherence to the animal research nexus by reconstructing the co-development of scientific practice, governance regimes and public understandings of animal research as an interconnected historical process or ‘nexus’.

A list of site content that is tagged as History & Cultures – grouped by type of content.


Here, we investigate the ways in which a group of scientists in Edinburgh worked across mice and sheep during the last quarter of the twentieth century. With this local episode, we show the utility of an interspecies perspective to investigate recent historical transformations in the life sciences.

The Routledge Companion to Animal-Human History provides an up-to-date guide for the historian working within the growing field of animal-human history. This book chapter by Rob Kirk suggests that to understand animal–human history we would do well to start with the role of animals in science.

This poster explains our work on the history of British laboratory animals, focusing on the origins, implementation, and impact of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 through newly-available archive sources, published literature, ephemera, and a programme of oral history interviews.

Blog entry

“Vintage File Cabinet” by victoriabernal is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 via Flickr
Written by:

Sara Peres

Our approach to research emphasises cross-project collaborations and transdisciplinary thinking. But what does this mean, in practical terms, for the work that we do and for our participants?

Written by:

Dmitriy Myelnikov

Animal research is fraught with controversy, and dramatic debates around the use of animals in biomedical sciences keep flaring up.


The next BASN conference on Animal Machines/Machine Animals is being organised by the ‘Life Geographies’ Group, University of Exeter, at the Phoenix Arts Venue, Exeter, 2-3 November 2018. Confirmed Plenary Speakers