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Unlicensed Animal Research

All work involving protected animals (as defined by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986), conducted by or on behalf of the University of Warwick is considered by our Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body (AWERB) even if this work is below the threshold requiring regulation under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA).

The University is committed to the principles of the 3Rs of Reduction, Refinement and Replacement. For each project it ensures, as far as is reasonably practicable, that no alternative to the use of animals is possible, that the number of animals used is minimised and that procedures, care routines and husbandry are refined to maximise welfare. The welfare of animals is a primary concern of the University; it therefore expects that such work is conducted to the highest standards. The importance of our moral and legal obligations underpins our culture of care and compliance.

Ethics application form(Word Document)

Guidance notes for the completion of the application form

Section 1 - Research/Project Details

Please give as much background information to the research as possible, ensuring that you outline the expected advantages that the research project will bring. The AWERB will need to perform harm - benefit analysis based on the information given to assess whether the harm that would be caused is justified by the expected outcome, taking into account ethical considerations and the expected benefit to human beings, animals or the environment.
Please also attach any other relevant documentation for example; existing Home Office Project licenses that cover the work, other ethical approvals etc.

Section 2 - Animal and Welfare Details

A list of endangered species can be found in appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora list (CITES)

Please give as much information as possible on the programme of work proposed and indicate clearly how this work will meet your objectives. Where relevant indicate how any in vitro and ex vivo work integrates with any in vivo work proposed. Please also give details of what data or products are needed to achieve the purpose of the project, and how those data or products are generated and analysed. Please also include details of the housing and welfare of the animals, and levels of competency and experience of the staff involved with the animal research.
Please also attach any documentation the will help the committee better understand the work being undertaken for example; protocols for the plan of work, humane endpoints for the research (if relevant), training documents etc.

Section 3 – The 3Rs

This section does not need to be completed for non-interventional studies i.e. where there is no direct impact on the animals’ health, welfare or natural behaviour (schedule 1 culls are classed as interventional).
Please give as much information on the reduction, refinement and replacement of the work as possible.

  • Replacement: Methods that avoid or replace the use of animals defined as 'protected' under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 in an area where they would otherwise have been used. Examples include:
    • Absolute replacements - techniques which do not involve animals at any point, such as computer modelling, in vitro methodologies (e.g. tissue engineering), use of human volunteers
    • Relative replacements, which replace the use of 'protected' animals with other species e.g. invertebrates, larval forms of amphibians and fish.
  • Refinement: Improvements to scientific procedures and husbandry that minimise actual or potential pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm and/or improve animal welfare in situations where the use of animals is unavoidable. Examples could include reducing stress by developing new approaches such as training animals, use of non-invasive techniques or enrichment's that improve living conditions.
  • Reduction: Methods that minimise animal use and enable researchers to obtain comparable levels of information from fewer animals, or to obtain more information from the same number of animals, thereby reducing future use of animals. Examples could include: Improved experimental design and statistical analysis; data and resource sharing; and use of techniques such as imaging.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why do I need to complete this form?

The AWERB has a duty of care to consider all projects using protected animals that are conducted at or by the University of Warwick.

  • Are the species I’m using a protected animal (as defined by ASPA)?

A protected animal is defined as ‘any living vertebrate other than man and any living cephalopod’. This also includes foetal, larval or embryonic forms at different stages of development. For further clarification, please see the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

  • How long will it take to be approved by the AWERB?

The project details will be circulated to the committee via email, and we would aim to get approval within 3 weeks of receiving your application form.

  • How will I know when my project has been approved?

The AWERB secretary will notify you via email to let you know that your project has been approved by the AWERB.

  • Can I start work on the project before I have approval from the AWERB?

You cannot start work on any part of your project that directly involves animals until you have approval from the AWERB.

  • Is my project classed as interventional?

If there is a direct impact on the animal other than normal husbandry techniques then yes your project is classed as interventional ie culling, giving an injection, restraining the animal to measure blood pressure etc. An example of a non-interventional study would be the filming of an animal in its normal environment to monitor feeding behaviour.

  • What happens if I want to alter my project once I have started work?

If the changes in your project will alter the purpose, number or species of animal, location or the impact upon the animals, then you will need to update your form with these changes and resubmit this to the AWERB for consideration.

  • Do I need to notify the AWERB once my project has finished?

You are not obliged to notify the AWERB once your project is complete, but we would always welcome any feedback on developments, results, papers published or progressions made so that we can continue to improve the welfare and 3R’s of animals used in research.

  • Who can I contact for further information

Further information can be sought by emailing AWERBenquiries at warwick dot ac dot uk

Useful Resources

Home Office pages on use of animals in research

National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research

Understanding Animal Research

EU Directive (2010/63/EU) on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes

Laboratory animal science association

Responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research: expectations of the major research councils and charitable funding bodies (2008)

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences (BBSRC) Use of animals in bioscience research

Medical Research Council (MRC) Use of animals in medical research