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Imperial College: Serious concerns identified at animal research facility

The BUAV investigation of an animal research facility at Imperial College, London, in 2012 lead to an independent investigation at the institution and the consequent report from Professor Brown and his committee was published today (10th December 2013).

Commenting on the report, Professor Brown said:

“Our investigation identified a number of serious concerns on the conduct, management and oversight of animal research at Imperial College. The college now has an opportunity to take our findings and recommendations forward. Imperial College is internationally recognised as one of the world’s best research institutes and it is important that this is matched by its standards of animal use and welfare.”

“Among recommendations put forward to Imperial College is a complete reform of its internal processes for the ethical and scientific review of animal studies, increased staffing levels in the animal facilities, additional resources to support the training and competency assessment of those using animals and the creation of a new senior director role with overall responsibility for animal research and the 3Rs at the college.”

The Dr Hadwen Trust, like the BUAV, wonders how much of an endemic these process failures are in the UK and how many of these failures are due to the continued veil of secrecy.

Despite the sentiment of  3Rs research, which should of course be commended, it appears to the DHT, as it always had done, that there is only one important R - and that is Replacement. Thanks to our dedicated and passionate supporters, the DHT continues to provide funding to a broad portfolio of replacement focussed projects across the UK. It must be said however that full replacement of animal based research is incredibly challenging and is often achieved through a step wise process involving scientists, technological advancement, institution compliance, legal process and Government pressure. It is clear that there is still much work to be done if the Brown report is actually an indication of the state of animal research in the UK and not just aimed at a single institution!

Comments

\"..Imperial College is internationally recognised as one of the world’s best research institutes and it is important that this is matched by its standards of animal use and welfare.” It is precisely because this is the sort of thing that goes on in the \'best\' of research establishments (and only becomes public after relatively rare undercover operations) that I became actively involved with DHT. I am concerned that other places are likely to be worse and I passionately believe that we can (and must) do better than this. The DHT offers a really positive and constructive way forward in this scientific, moral, and ethical dilemma. Let\'s work together to make advances, both in scientific validity and also animal welfare!

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