Policy on Animals in Research
The Institutes Aims
The Griffin Institute formally known as Northwick Park Institute for Medical Research (NPIMR) has been a center for medical research and training, both preclinical and clinical since the opening of the original Northwick Park Hospital early in the 1970s. Our goals are to enhance the quality of learning for clinicians so that they may take these skills and use them in their hospitals and clinics worldwide to enhance patient care as well as produce high quality integral science.
We are proud of our commitment to improving the quality of life of the animals in our care and how each and every animal goes towards directly impacting and advancing human medicine and surgery, that in 2020 we joined the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK.
The Institutes Commitment
We are committed to ensuring that all staff, surgeons, clinicians, and students whether involved in animal-based research or training, treat all our animals with respect and consideration. It is an expectation that staff, students and clinicians are to take a proactive interest in the welfare of the animals under their care, and to ensure that all aspects of their work and research comply with the highest ethical standards.
The Institute is committed to following the process of reduction, replacement, and refinement (3Rs) in all animal based pre-clinical research and training. This is to ensure that we uphold and promote an ethical, moral, and legal responsibility and a culture of care in all aspects of our research and education and always look for non-animal alternatives if appropriate.
Codes of Practice
In the United Kingdom, the use of animals to be used in medical research and education is governed by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. Under this Act, all premises in which laboratory animals are housed and experiments performed are detailed in an Establishment licence. An EU Directive, revised in 2010, also supports and governs the protection of animals used for scientific purposes.
Working to the Codes of Practices set out within the Act, ensure that the conditions for the welfare, housing and care of laboratory animals meet the rigorous standards and that the well-being of laboratory animals remains a high priority. For pre-clinical research, regulated procedures, as defined by the Act are conducted by experienced persons who have been granted a personal licence by the Secretary of State only after completing and passing the educational pathway to obtaining a personal licence. Personal licence holders will enter onto a training and competency trajectory that will follow them throughout their career across all establishments, to ensure that their training is complete and transparent. Within the Griffin Institute we have NTCO’s that track the competency of our staff and students as well as visiting personal licence holders.
In addition to this, all experiments must be authorised by a Project License which sets out and analyses the potential benefits of the work and the expected cost to the animals. The Home Office review and grant these licences only where the results can justify the use of animals.
Compliance with the Act is regulated by a dedicated Home Office Inspector who has the legal right of access to all areas within our establishment without warning. Our inspector ensures that no procedures are carried out without appropriate licenses being in place and that the highest standards of animal care and welfare are given and maintained.
The Ethical Review Process
The Act sets out that all research establishments must conduct regular meetings to ensure scientific projects are reviewed ethically. The Animal Welfare Ethical Review Body (AWERB) within the Institute, consists of named animal care and welfare officers, named veterinary surgeons, scientific personnel, and lay people. Every project is put towards an ethical review and these are scheduled on a regular basis. All of the pre-clinical projects and training
regimes that are conducted in-house, are presented to the board and only if strict criteria are met and fully justified, do these projects get granted approval.
The AWERB is also responsible for overseeing and approving new project licence and project licence amendments. Only amendments that have taken the 3R’s into consideration and ensure the science is kept on track or enhanced will be granted.
Policy version 1 – 27/04/21