The author, Michael FW Festing, enjoying a field of Californian poppies, Los Angeles, 2005

The aim of this web site is to help you to reduce the numbers of animals used in research by better choice of animals and better experimental design.

I am a geneticist, statistician and laboratory animal scientist, retired from the UK Medical Research Council where I worked first at the MRC Laboratory Animals Centre, and subsequently at the MRC Toxicology Unit, now located in Leicester, England. I obtained my B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Agriculture from London University, my Ph.D. in quantitative genetics from Iowa State University, USA., and a D.Sc. from London University. I am also a Chartered Statistician (CStat.) and a Fellow of the Institute of Biology (FIBiol.).

I am the author of over 200 scientific papers on laboratory animal genetics and related topics. The use of inbred strains in biomedical research, and the inheritance of susceptibility to lung cancer in mice have been the subject of my more recent work. In recent years I have taken a particular interest in improving the design and statistical analysis of animal experiments in order to reduce the number of animals which are used.

Currently I am a member of the UK Animal Procedures Committee (a statutory committee which advises the Government on matters relating to the use of laboratory animals), have just retired from six years on the Council of the Institute of Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR) in Washington DC, and  the Board of the NC3Rs (National Centre for Replacement, Refinement and Reduction) in the UK where I am chairman of the working party on experimental design.

I have received a number of animal welfare-associated awards including the 1996 SmithKline Beecham laboratory animal welfare prize  for "outstanding contribution to the welfare of laboratory animals",  the "Recognition Award" 1996 from Johns Hopkins University Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing for "Contributions in the area of reduction alternatives and animal welfare issues", the Doerenkamp-Zbinden Foundation medal of honour, 1997 for contributions to laboratory animal welfare and Honorary membership of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM) in 2000.  "In recognition of his outstanding contribution to the speciality of laboratory animal medicine".

Constructive comments on how I can improve this web site would be welcome.