Functions and tasks

Group of laboratory beagles

Ethics and animal care and use committees around the world may operate under different regulatory systems but most institutional committees have similar roles and functions to the UK¿s Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Bodies (AWERBs) that are summarised below.

Generally, the AWERB should: 

  • provide a forum for discussion and development of ethical advice to the establishment licence holder on all matters related to animal welfare, care and use at the establishment.
  • promote awareness of animal welfare and the 3Rs.
  • support the `named people¿, and other staff dealing with animals, on animal welfare and ethical issues.
  • help to promote a `culture of care¿.

More specific tasks are to: 

  • provide advice to staff on welfare of animals relating to their acquisition, care and use.
  • advise on the application of the 3Rs.
  • advise the establishment licence holder whether to support project proposals primarily considering these from a local perspective, bringing local knowledge and local expertise to bear.
  • establish and review management and operational processes for monitoring, reporting and follow up in relation to animal welfare.
  • follow the development and outcome (retrospective review) of projects and assist with the retrospective assessment of relevant projects required by law.
  • advise on rehoming laboratory animals.
  • respond to enquiries and consider advice received from the National Committee for the Protection of Animals Used for Scientific Purposes (known as the Animals in Science Committee in the UK).