Good animal welfare and good science go hand-in-hand and we aim to provide our animals with the highest standards of care. Our animal facility houses animals in high-quality environments that allow them to follow their normal behaviours. We have a dedicated team of animal care staff who have undergone specialist training and are members of the Institute of Animal Technology (IAT), a professional organisation that promotes excellence in animal care and welfare. Our staff are responsible for the day-to-day care and welfare of the animals, and make sure that they are in good health. This includes a Named Veterinary Surgeon (NVS), who is on hand to provide support and advice on animal welfare.
Animal technicians work closely with scientists to ensure animal welfare is considered at every stage of a project. We also have experts at analysing data, known as biostatisticians, who help design animal studies to make sure that we only use the minimum number of animals needed.
Before staff can work with animals, they must receive appropriate training covering topics such as ethical and welfare issues, the law and non-animal alternatives.
The Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body (AWERB) review all studies involving animals to check the ethics and scientific value of projects and make sure staff are working to the highest standards of animal welfare. The AWERB includes selected NIBSC scientific experts, vets, animal care staff and lay members, who do not have a direct involvement in animal or scientific research, and a member of the local community to represent public views.
They help to ensure research involving animals is only performed when:
Once a project receives approval from the AWERB, it can then be submitted to the Home Office for review and authorisation. The minutes of the AWERB can be viewed on our website.