Imperial has announced the immediate actions it is taking following the release of an independent report into animal care and welfare at the College.
The College asked Professor Steve Brown in April 2013 to convene an independent committee to investigate how Imperial can improve to meet the highest standards in animal research and care internationally. The report is published online today.
The College has accepted all the recommendations of the committee and has thanked Professor Brown and his committee members for the time and energy they have given to the investigation. The College will now move quickly to implement the recommendations.
The committee commended the high standards of husbandry and animal care at Imperial. However, the College accepts that there is significant scope for improvement in aspects of the operation, management and oversight in order to become a world leader in animal research.
The College is strongly committed to reaching the very best level of international practice. Since the launch of the independent committee’s investigation, it has enhanced training and embedded a quality assurance programme in order to further improve the high standard of animal research at Imperial. Building on these steps the College will:
- Action a comprehensive plan by the end of January 2014 in response to the independent committee’s report. The College will engage external expertise to assist in the effective implementation of the Plan. The Plan will be developed by a group convened immediately which will be chaired by the Vice President (Health) and will be accountable to the President & Rector.
- As a priority invest in staffing and leadership in order to develop and drive a strategy for achieving the highest standards in animal research; and strengthen the College’s emphasis on replacing, reducing or refining the use of animals in research in order to become a leader in this area.
- Provide regular updates of progress implementing the recommendations on its Animal Research website.
- Publish an annual report on animal research at Imperial.
The College reiterates its strong belief that the use of animals in research is essential to improve human and animal health and welfare. Its stated policy is that animals may only be used in research programmes where their use is shown to be essential for developing new treatments and making medical advances. Imperial is committed to ensuring that, in cases where this research is deemed essential, all animals in the College’s care are treated with full respect, and that all staff involved with this work show due consideration at every level.
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