Imperial’s animal research facilities and staff have received international recognition for their standards of animal care and welfare.
The College’s Central Biomedical Services (CBS) division - which cares for the animals used by the College for research - is the first animal care facility within a UK university to receive the prestigious recognition from the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC International) .
Research involving animals forms an important element of Imperial's work but animals are only used in research programmes where their use is shown to be necessary and unavoidable. Good welfare and adherence to the 3Rs (Reduction, Replacement, Refinement) underpins this research.
High standard of care
Imperial scientists who work with animals are supported by the CBS team who are responsible for providing state of the art facilities and maintaining high levels of animal welfare. Staff training and facilities are all geared towards delivering scientific excellence whilst minimising the suffering of animals. Now the department has been recognised by AAALAC for the high standard of its care.
Professor Ian Walmsley, Provost at Imperial, said: “I’d like to congratulate Rob, Mandy, their teams, and everyone involved in this important achievement, as well my predecessor James Stirling, for his outstanding leadership. Research involving animals can lead to important breakthroughs in science, and it’s vital that we ensure the highest standards of care and welfare. This award is recognition of a great deal of hard work that I know will continue at the College.”
AAALAC International was founded in 1965 by leading international veterinarians and researchers to enhance life sciences and quality animal care around the world. It promotes the humane treatment of animals in science and is the only organisation that accredits animal care and welfare programmes.
The accreditation is awarded following the recommendations from a group of volunteer experts who evaluate the animal care and welfare practice of the relevant institution.
After receiving Imperial’s application four inspectors from AAALAC spent two days at the College visiting the research facilities before recommending accreditation to their council.
Rob Floyd, who led on the College’s AAALAC application, explained: “We conducted a comprehensive review of the existing animal care and welfare programmes, aligned and standardised them across all Imperial College London facilities and produced a new programme which operates to higher standards.”
Imperial will now need to submit a report every year detailing improvements made to the animal care and welfare programme during the previous year. To maintain accreditation, subsequent site visits are held every three years.
Mandy Thorpe, the Director of CBS, said: “This is fantastic news and a great achievement. This is the start of a journey of continuous improvement and monitoring of our animal care and welfare programme towards best practices and operational excellence.”
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