The Health and Welfare of animals are of paramount importance to the Medical Research Council, and this philosophy has helped shape the design of Harwell's Mouse facilities.
Harwell's strict entry procedures ensure that the mice are bred and accommodated to the highest health status. Named Animal Care and Welfare Officers (NACWOs), authorised by the Home Office and independent from the scientific research, make certain that the care and welfare of animals is monitored in accordance with the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.
Building on the high standard of accommodation (individually ventilated cages – IVCs), and stringent health surveillance programme (compliant with FELASA rules), many welfare suggestions have been implemented:
- Animals accommodated to a high standard in Individually Ventilated Cages (IVC) and pathogen-free (FELASA screen) environment
- Animal health status maintained by careful sterilisation of all equipment; drinking water via reverse osmosis and chlorination; irradiated diet throughout; double HEPA filtered air.
- Proactive commitment to, and implementation of, 3Rs (Reduction, Replacement & Refinement) practices wherever possible
- Home Office Licensee Module 1 course includes extended module on the ethics of the use of animals in research
- Specifically-designed Welfare Assessment Sheets linked to all Project Licences
- Refinements for many procedures such as genotyping, blood sampling, anaesthesia and euthanasia
- Physical analysis of environment in wards and IVCs: sound, ultrasound, light intensity, air exchanges, CO2, 02, NH3 monitored.
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