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Glossary of terms

Animal Welfare Body/Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body (AWB/AWERB):

Institutional, local bodies responsible for giving advice on a range of issues including: animal welfare, application of the 3Rs, project evaluation and rehoming. The AWB is a requirement of Directive 2010/63 EU (PDF 1.24MB). In the UK, this body is called the AWERB and its functions closely map those of the local Ethical Review Process (ERP) that preceded it. Other jurisdictions may have bodies which perform similar duties (e.g. the US Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee or IACUC).


Humane endpoint

Effectively, a limit to the level of suffering an animal can experience within a given scientific procedure.  It is a defined point at which an experimental animal’s pain and/or distress is either ended or reduced, within the context of the scientific endpoints to be met. Actions to end or reduce suffering include humane killing, removal from the study, provision of analgesia or any other appropriate measure to reduce suffering such as heat pads or dietary supplements.


Named persons

In the UK, the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 requires that each licensed establishment must have named personnel that can carry out specific duties. These are the Named Animal Care and Welfare Officer (NACWO), the Named Veterinary Surgeon (NVS), the Named Information Officer (NIO) and the Named Training and Competency Officer (NTCO).


The 3Rs

Principles of humane experimental technique, first proposed by Russell and Burch in 1958 in a project sponsored by UFAW.

  • Replacement - methods which avoid or replace the use of animals.
  • Reduction - minimising the numbers of animals used - for example by improving the experimental design and statistical analysis used in a study.
  • Refinement - improving experimental procedures, and other factors affecting animals such as their housing and care, to reduce suffering and improve welfare throughout the animals’ lives.


Welfare assessment

The term 'welfare assessment' refers to monitoring animals for signs of pain, suffering and distress associated with procedures or their effects, as well as to the day-to-day assessment of all animals to detect health or welfare issues so they can be dealt with. It is also good practice to define and include indicators of positive wellbeing, such as appropriate levels of grooming and play, when devising protocols for monitoring animals.

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