Our standards, policies, governance

The University of Bristol’s Animal Services Unit (ASU) helps to ensure that the highest ethical and welfare standards are maintained whenever animals are involved in research. Our standards are set out in our Use of Animals in Research policy.

All animal research in the UK is controlled by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act, 1986, amended 2012. Anyone who wants to carry out research procedures regulated by this Act must undergo training, demonstrate relevant experience, and be licensed by the Home Office. These standards are monitored by Home Office Inspectors, through unannounced visits, and by named University staff.

The Home Office Liaison Team (HOLT) within our ASU works to ensure that animal research performed within the University is fully compliant under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act, from licensing to animal care. In particular, our Named Animal Care and Welfare Officers (NACWOs) and Named Veterinary Surgeon (NVS) are actively involved on a day-to-day basis in safeguarding the welfare of animals that are bred, kept and studied at the University. Our Named Training and Competency Officer (NTCO) monitors the training of all scientists working with animals and the Named Information Officer (NIO) helps to ensure that those working with animals have access to the information they need about the relevant species, as well as information on replacement, reduction and refinement (the 3Rs).

The University has designed, built and maintains dedicated animal facilities and has processes in place to ensure our researchers and technicians adhere to high standards of care and are actively involved in the 3Rs. All scientific projects involving animals are also subject to formal ethical review by the University’s Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body (AWERB).

Our AWERB provides independent ethical advice to the Establishment License Holder on issues including the welfare and use of animals, the application of the 3Rs, reviews of past and present scientific projects, training needs and promoting a strong culture of care. The AWERB works under the University’s policy on the use of animals in research and teaching (PDF, 102kB)‌.

Image credit: University of Bristol
Image credit: University of Bristol
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