The Impact of the Introduction of the Ethical Review Process for Research Using Animals in the UK: Attitudes to Alternatives Among Those Working With Experimental Animals

Iain F.H. Purchase and Maria Nedeva

the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, namely the Certificate Holders, Project Licence Holders, Personal Licence Holders, Named Veterinary Surgeons, and Named Animal Care and Welfare Officers. The aim of the survey was to elicit views on the effectiveness of the introduction of the Ethical Review Process (ERP), introduced in April 1999. This report covers issues related to the use of alternatives, which were incorporated into the questionnaires. The number of returned questionnaires (45% of 1636 questionnaires) was sufficient for a meaningful analysis to be made of attitudes to the use of alternatives. In response to questions about the reason for the use of alternatives, more than 80% answered that alternatives should be used on moral or ethical grounds. Only about 50% of Certificate Holders and Licence Holders answered that alternatives were used because of legal requirements. Most respondents believed that replacement alternatives did not provide scientific information of equivalent value to that obtained from animal experiments. However, the majority also believed that it was possible to carry out valid scientific experiments by using replacement alternatives. The majority of Named Animal Care and Welfare Officers believed that the ERP had improved many aspects of refinement alternatives. In particular the “culture of care” had improved. Most establishments had a formal mechanism for discussing alternatives, although it was noteworthy that relatively few Personal Licence Holders believed this to be the case. In general, the majority of those working under the 1986 Act and most establishments seem to have a positive approach to the use of alternatives.
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More is Less: Reducing Animal Use by Raising Awareness of the Principles of Efficient Study Design and Analysis

Bryan Howard, Michelle Hudson and Richard Preziosi

Good experimental design and the appropriate use of statistical tests form the corner stone of high-quality scientific research. This is especially important when the experiments involve the use of laboratory animals, to ensure that their use is appropriate and that the minimum number of animals will be used that will provide data which are sufficiently statistically-sound to meet the objectives of the study. One way to raise awareness of the importance of efficient study design and analysis is to provide training courses. This paper reports the views of participants at two such training schools, with reference to why they felt that attendance was necessary and how effective they felt the experience had been. The implications of the responses are discussed, and considerations for future training events are noted.
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