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AFABILITY is a non-commercial, scientific organisation that is dependent on the financial support of its supporters through annual donation. In return, AFABILITY offers the use of its logo and tailored project support, technical advice, information sharing and training.

If you are a company or a group that would like to:

  • Use our logo to promote your own animal friendly approach or activity to produce affinity reagents (subject to verification)?
  • List your commercial activity to produce AFAs on our website to reach a larger audience
  • Endorse our activity
  • Sponsor and support the AFAbILITY mission
  • Work on a collaborative project with us
  • Contact us to discuss your needs, however great or small.
Have your say


Antibody production by phage display adopts the same mechanistic principles as those employed by the in vivo adaptive immune system and that is also exploited for scientific research and commercial purposes. Consequently, the antibodies produced by these methods are functionally indiscernible to the extent that recombinant antibodies provide the ‘same or higher level of information as the animal procedure’, as stipulated by Directive 2010/63/EU.

Despite the emergence of better quality in vitro technologies to tackle a problem that continues to be overlooked, obsolete animal based antibody production methods persist. We have at our disposal, a mature and widely used technology that is set to have an enormous impact on animal use, owing to the fact that the reliance on antibodies by biomedical scientists, health care professionals and consumers, impacts all areas of research, development and safety testing. For that reason, it is bewildering to consider that despite the readiness of new molecular methodologies and the wealth of literature to support implementation, or despite the growing availability of companies offering AFAs, that antibodies are continuing to be produced using animal immunisation techniques. It is even more perplexing that we are not already deeply committed to a program of replacement of animal derived antibody production techniques. To encourage technical discussions that will serve to address any arising issues and feed into an EU led replacement program, to ensure that a consolidated expert opinion is reached and that a level playing field exists for all antibody producers, we have made available a group forum: AFAs – Animal Friendly Affinity-reagents


Antibodies are used in a variety of ways to detect, monitor, extract and diagnose. Yet the products we buy as consumers and the services we rely on to protect our health and the environment we live in appear to be far removed from animal experimentation since no animals were directly tested on. Instead, antibodies are manufactured in animals, isolated and used to create an in vitro (1) test. Since animals are not tested on directly, these in vitro tests may be perceived to be an alternative to animal testing. In reality, we are not replacing animals but simply substituting methods in which the animal use is direct, for others where the animal use is buried several layers deep in the production process and our ultimate aim, to prevent unnecessary suffering by using animal friendly methods, is not achieved, since the antibody use that is overlooked still presents significant animal welfare issues.

  1. latin meaning ‘in glass’

Providing a practical framework for the regulation of animal research and testing, the 3Rs of replacement, reduction and refinement are the guiding principles underpinning the humane use of animals in scientific research and are embedded in national and international legislation. Directive 2010/63/EU sets a high scientific standard as a bench mark for global harmonization. Protecting the welfare of animals ensures the highest scientific standards are met which impacts the quality, reproducibility and cost of scientific outputs including antibody production

The use of animals to produce antibodies is unnecessary since well-established non-animal methods to produce antibodies and other affinity reagents (AFAs) [link to AFAs], exist. The opportunity exists to substitute animal derived antibody production methods for in vitro alternatives. Antibody production by in vitro methods has evolved to a level of scientific sophistication that outweighs obsolescent animal immunization methods and which now justifies the replacement of antibody production methods that are derived from them. The full replacement of animal immunization techniques by AFA methods will have an enormous impact on the number of animals saved each year.

Public opinion is an extremely powerful influence in setting precedence for future standards and activities. We’d love to hear from you. Join our discussion on facebook