Humane endpoints: AWERB members
The AWB/AWERB should ask for explanations of humane endpoints, including how they are defined, refined and implemented. They can also ask to see, and discuss, animal ‘fate’ data, including a breakdown of animals humanely killed as part of the experiment, found dead, killed because they are close to a humane endpoint, or because they are not needed (surplus). This will allow the establishment to monitor wastage, identify where endpoints may need to be revised and see where additional welfare monitoring should be applied.
AWERB members can work with scientists to explore the potential to modify experimental endpoints so that suffering can be reduced. For example, in pharmaceutical research and development it is sometimes possible to use ‘mechanistic endpoints’ - these just look for a ‘biomarker’ of disease, such as the presence of a certain molecule in the blood, instead of allowing a disease to affect the animal. Death or severe morbidity as an endpoint may not be necessary and should always be challenged in any field of research.
Asking the researcher to come in and do a presentation on their work for the AWERB, with time for discussion, can help to facilitate constructive discussion, avoid misunderstandings and drawn out email exchanges.