Events for members of AWERBs

AWERB Lay Members' Forum

AWERB Lay Members' Forum

Since 1999, the RSPCA has been organising a regular meeting for lay and other members of Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Bodies (AWERBs). The meetings provide a forum for people to come together and share experiences of their work. Presentations on some of the many important issues that AWERBs cover are combined with opportunities for group discussion. You can read about many of the previous events below. Ideas for topics to consider at the Forum are always welcome.


This year will mark 20 years since we held the first Lay Members¿ Forum. Please check back here for more details of this meeting in due course.


Topics at our Forum in London included: key recommendations from the Animals in Science Committee report on the harm/benefit analysis; a scientist¿s experience of appearing in front of the AWERB; the scientific basis for assessing the mental states of animals; and the experience of a lay member at a large biomedical research institution. Abstract booklet (2018) (PDF 1.17MB)

In 2018, we also held a Forum in Scotland, where speakers addressed topics including: the use of the `3Cs¿ to assess the effectiveness of the AWERB; developing the culture of care; and a discussion of the ethical challenges and issues raised by working with animals in the wild. Abstract booklet - Scotland (2018) (PDF 1.13MB)

Short summary of the 2018 meeting (PDF 81.8KB)


The programme included a discussion of how lay members¿ feedback and input can help improve the non-technical summary; ways to recognise and help alleviate boredom in research animals; the use of enrichment in zebrafish housing; recognising and reducing distress in research animals; and how animals are used in trauma research. Abstract booklet (2017) (PDF 1.13MB)


Topics discussed at this meeting included: a Home Office perspective on how best to address projects that have major ethical implications or societal concerns; developing an AWERB in a global Contract Research Organisation; the culture of care; a discussion of how the 3Rs can be implemented in pain research; and a presentation of the `Ratlife¿ video, which documented the behaviour of a group of laboratory rats when released into a semi-wild enclosure. Abstract booklet (2016) (PDF 1.04MB)


Speakers addressed topics including: a Home Office view on the first two years of the AWERB; training, supervision and competence; working with wild animals; the potential for organ-on-a-chip technology as a replacement; and reviewing projects involving disease therapies. Abstract booklet (2015) (PDF 1.12MB)


Topics included: assessing harms and benefits; fish welfare; retrospective review; update from the European Commission. Abstract booklet (2014) (PDF 1.64MB)


The programme included a range of scientific, welfare and ethical topics and also covered issues relating to the implementation of the revised UK law. Abstract booklet (2013) (PDF 891KB)


Topics included: transposition of Directive 2010/63/EU ¿ with emphasis on issues of particular relevance to the ethical review process; how lay members would like to see the local ethical review process and the new national Animals in Science Committee develop in the future. Abstract booklet (2012) (PDF 861KB)


The theme of `Making difficult decisions'. Topics included: evaluating harms and benefits of new technologies; issues relating to humane endpoints and cumulative suffering; harms and benefits in behavioural pharmacology; and the challenge of ethical review in a global context. Abstract booklet (2011) (PDF 592KB)

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