Document ReferenceMS 1016
TitlePapers of Professor Michael Balls (b.1938), Chairman of the Trustees of the Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments (FRAME)
Extent67 boxes
AbstractFiles compiled by Professor Michael Balls relating to his involvement with the charity, the Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments (FRAME), in his role as Chairman of the Trustees and Editor of FRAME's journal, Alternatives to Laboratory Animals (ATLA); also files relating to Professor Ball's work as a founder member of the Animal Procedures Committee (which advised the Home Secretary on all matters relating to animal experimentation).
Access ConditionsThe bulk of the collection is accessible to all readers. However, access to some items is restricted under current Data Protection legislation. Please see our Access Policy or contact us for further advice.
Please note that the collection contains some materials in which animal suffering is described or depicted.
Admin HistoryMichael Balls and FRAME
Michael Balls (b.1938), moved from the University of East Anglia to the University of Nottingham in 1975 to take up a role as Senior Lecturer in the Department of Human Morphology at the University of Nottingham, going on to be made Professor of Medical Cell Biology in 1990. Since 1995, he has been an Emeritus Professor. In 2002, he was appointed a CBE for his contributions toward humane animal research and has received many awards and honours during his career for his work in advancing alternative methods to animal testing, for services to cell biology, for contributions to the welfare of laboratory animals and for his role in advancing the field of in vitro toxicology.

The Three Rs
Michael Balls first came across the concept of alternatives to testing on animals in 1975 when Professor David Smith, author of 'Alternatives to Animal Experiments', suggested he approach animal welfare charities to support his research (which involved the study of cells in vitro, rather than using living animals, in vivo). He became a proponent of the Three Rs after coming across the publication 'The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique' by W.M.S. Russell and R.L. Burch (London, 1959), in which Russell and Burch classified humane techniques under three headings: Replacement, Reduction and Refinement. Replacement – the use of non-animal subjects wherever possible, with research into the development and validation of alternative research and testing models;​ Reduction – the minimising of the number of animals used, through better research design, the sharing of information through the creation of databases or through employing statistical methods;​ Refinement – improvement of experimental procedures, ethical sourcing and improved housing to minimise suffering.

History of FRAME
The Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments (FRAME) was established by Dorothy Hegarty with Charles Foister and Terence Hegarty, in London in 1969, to work towards relieving the suffering of animals used as subjects in biomedical research, and to promote and support research into acceptable new techniques as substitutes for the use of animals in scientific experiments. Professor Balls was invited to become a Trustee of FRAME in 1979, and on Hegarty's resignation, took over as Chairman of the Trustees in 1981.

FRAME in Nottingham
Professor Balls was also Scientific Director of FRAME from 1981-1993 and established the FRAME Research Programme. By being practically involved in research into the development of non-animal methods, FRAME hoped to gain greater influence. He was responsible for moving the headquarters of FRAME from London to Nottingham and the University of Nottingham was one of the research centres involved in FRAME’s first multi-centre research projects. Michael Balls and Richard Clothier (his PhD student and later colleague at FRAME) progressively took over the tissue culture suite in the University of Nottingham’s Department of Human Morphology; this was redesigned in 1992 to become the FRAME Alternatives Laboratory (FAL). The FAL provided research placements for Nottingham students and over time the focus of research shifted from using amphibian organ culture to human cell culture, benefiting from the close collaboration with the University’s Medical School. The FAL was extended and refurbished in 2007. Professor Balls calculated that between 1982 and 2009, FRAME donated £5 million to the University for research on alternative methods. The Vice-Chancellor, Sir Colin Campbell, was a Patron of the FRAME Appeal.

FRAME research
FRAME’s primary focus was toxicity testing because various existing tests, which were required by law, involved procedures which lead to animal suffering (such as the notorious LD50 lethal dose test which involves administering toxins to large numbers of animals to establish the dose required to kill half of the animals exposed). FRAME were the recipients in 1984 of the first ever British Government grant for research into alternatives. It established the INVITTOX data bank for alternative method protocols, introduced the first international validation scheme for alternative methods and participated in a number of successful international validation studies, successfully procuring support from the UK Government, the European Commission, and a large number of manufacturing and retail companies. The FRAME headquarters also hosted the secretariat of the European Research Group for Alternatives in Toxicity Testing (ERGATT) and FRAME was involved in joint European projects such as the Trans-European Mobility Scheme for University Studies (TEMPUS Program), the aim of which was to introduce the Three Rs concept to universities in Eastern Europe.

An All-Party Parliamentary FRAME Group had been established when Dorothy Hegarty was Chair of the FRAME Trustees, and in 1984, M. Balls became a member of the Home Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Animal Experiments. FRAME formed a ‘Triple Alliance’ with the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Committee for the Reform of Animal Experimentation (CRAE) to advise the Government during the preparation and passage through Parliament of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Bill 1985. M. Balls then became a founder member of Animal Procedures Committee (APC), created by the new Act. The Committee scrutinised applications for testing on animals for cosmetics or tobacco, for projects using non-human primates, and projects causing severe suffering. The Home Secretary would bring issues to the Committee for consideration and the Committee could also investigate subjects of its own choosing. In 1987 FRAME and the Committee for the Reform of Animal Experimentation (CRAE) submitted a position paper to the Home Secretary on ‘The use of non-human primates as laboratory animals in Great Britain', with all but one of its proposals being accepted as Government policy.

Industry support
FRAME had the support of several industrial companies including L'Oreal, Pfizer, Unilever, and the Huntingdon Research Centre, through funding or through joint research projects to validate alternative toxicity tests. They worked particularly closely with the cosmetics industry, at a time when the animal testing of cosmetic ingredients and products was a focus of public attention and campaigning. M. Balls was particularly critical of companies which labelled their products as cruelty free despite relying on ingredients which had been tested by other organisations who were on the receiving end of campaigns by animal rights activists. The FRAME logo featuring the white rabbit was developed to signal product testing without animals. FRAME was regularly consulted by both cosmetic industry organisations and the European Economic Community, in the revision of a European Commission cosmetics directive.

FRAME Publications
From 1982 to 2019, M. Balls was Editor of FRAME’s award-winning journal ATLA: Alternatives to Laboratory Animals, which was published six times a year, and which achieved an impressive Impact Factor. By c.1992 ATLA had three regional editors (UK and the rest of the world, Europe and North America), and was distributed in 48 countries, regularly publishing papers based on meetings of national and regional organisations and important editorials stimulating debate. From 1984 FRAME also produced a quarterly publication, FRAME News, for conveying constructive suggestions and critical comment to a wider audience. Other publications included pamphlets aimed at schools, newsletters (from 1984), and from 1989, Friends of FRAME, which had a focus on fundraising (individual donations and legacies had always helped to fund FRAME’s work).

In June 2013 M. Balls was made Honorary Life President of FRAME and in 2017 was appointed as Honorary Scientific Adviser to the Chief Executive. Each year FRAME presents the Michael Balls Award, in recognition of Professor Balls’ outstanding dedication to ATLA during his 37 years as Editor-in-Chief, to the author(s) of the article in the previous year’s volume of ATLA which is likely to make the most significant contribution to the reduction, refinement and/or replacement of animal experimentation. FRAME continues to operate as a charity from its base in Nottingham and the FRAME Alternative Lab at the University's Medical School offers state-of-the-art equipment for growing human tissue, as well as providing support for PhD students, postdocs and undergraduate students to develop research projects that focus on alternatives.
Custodial HistoryThe papers were acquired from Professor Balls in August 2019.
DescriptionThis collection consists of records amassed by Professor Balls in his capacity as Chairman of the Trustees and as Editor of FRAME's journal, Alternatives to Laboratory Animals (ATLA). The files are not the papers of the charity itself and do not cover FRAME from its establishment, but were transferred to the University of Nottingham and made available for research use with the organisation's blessing. Also present are files relating to Professor Balls' work as a founder member of the Animal Procedures Committee (which advised the Home Secretary on all matters relating to animal experimentation).

The papers largely consist of correspondence files (copy letters, faxes and later printed emails) rather than scientific research data, reflecting Professor Balls' role within the organisation. Also present are minutes, reports, publications, conference papers, and published academic papers.

The collection demonstrates the activities involved in running a charitable organisation (fundraising, engaging with trustees and supporters, managing staff, etc.). FRAME's collaborative research projects, spread across UK and international research centres, involved engaging with corporate partners, submitting grant applications for UK government and European Commission funding, hiring research staff, sharing results, planning workshops, conferences and symposia and communicating or publishing findings.

The balancing act of engagement with universities, government, industry and animal welfare organisations also comes through clearly in the files. Relationships are also established with fellow scientists within the EU, North America, Japan and Eastern Europe (through the TEMPUS programme). Although the primary focus is on work, correspondence with a scientific colleague in Czechoslovakia covers the period of 'velvet revolution' with references made to the impact on life at the universities, and other files show the friendships which developed from working relationships throughout M. Balls' career.

A different perspective on large companies and the cosmetics industry is seen through the generous funding of research and the sharing of research data whilst other files reveal the work involved in lobbying government to change laws, influence policy making and seek resources.

The publications series (MS 1016/3) is an accessible starting point and, in particular, the issues of FRAME News provide a very useful overview of the activity and objectives of the organisation, with information about its achievements and challenges along with information about the context in which the charity was operating.

The collection does contain some graphic descriptions and depictions of animals being used in experiments, but these tend to be found solely in media coverage or leaflets produced by animal aid organisations, rather than in any material produced by FRAME. The collection provides an interesting insight into the evolving strategies employed by animal activists and organisations concerned with animal welfare, as well as the changing attitude of the public, the media and politicians to the use of animals in experiments.

Finally, Professor Balls' papers reveal the extraordinary efforts he went to and the passion with which he pursued his goal, throughout his career, to reduce unnecessary animal suffering.
MgtGroupScientific, research and educational records
Personal papers
MgtSubGroupResearch and development bodies
ArrangementThe papers have been arranged into the following series:
MS 1016/1: Papers relating to meetings of the FRAME Trustees, 1993-2012
MS 1016/2: Documents relating to the foundation of the charity, its key achievements and obituaries of its members and supporters, 1969-2020
MS 1016/3: Publications (copies of and files relating to the production of) including newsletters, annual reports, information leaflets, publications for schools, and ATLA (FRAME's journal), 1980-2009
MS 1016/4: Correspondence files, 1966-2013
MS 1016/5: Papers of FRAME committees, 1979-2014
MS 1016/6: Files relating to M. Balls membership of the Animal Procedures Committee, 1981-1994
MS 1016/7: Files relating to the FRAME Alternatives Laboratory (FAL) at the University of Nottingham's Medical School, 1981-2008
MS 1016/8: Files relating to the management of the FRAME Research Programme, 1978-2007
MS 1016/9: Files relating to FRAME activities, 1977-2005
MS 1016/10: Documents relating to FRAME activities, 1985-1995
MS 1016/11: Other documents, 1981-1991
MS 1016/12: Photographs (scans created in 2022)
TermToxicology -- Animal models -- Moral and ethical aspects
Animal welfare
Laboratory animals
Alternative toxicity testing
FindingAidsCopyright in all finding aids belongs to The University of Nottingham. Online: Available on the Manuscripts Online Catalogue, accessible from the website of Manuscripts and Special Collections.
ReprodnNoteReprographic copies can be supplied for educational and private study purposes only, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.
Related MaterialPapers of Professor William Moy Stratten Russell (1925-2006) and Claire Russell (née Hillel) (1919-1999). Reference: WCR
Papers of Professor Michael Balls (b.1938), scientist and Professor of Medical Cell Biology at the University of Nottingham. Reference: PMB
Artificial collection of materials relating to Professor William M.S. (Bill) Russell (1925-2006); 1996-2009. Reference: MS 1045
Related RecordWCR
Publication NoteW.M.S. Russell and R.L. Burch, 'The principles of humane experimental technique', London: Methuen (1959) Manuscripts & Special Collections (KMC) Reference Ref QP48 .R8

Click the links below to view related name indexes

CodePersonNameDates of existence
DS/UK/89575Balls; Michael (b.1938); Professor; Scientist and Professor of Medical Cell Biology at University of Nottinghamb.1938
Add to My Items