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expert reaction to publication of independent inquiry into animal research at Imperial College London

The SMC rounded up reaction to the report on the approach to animal care and welfare at Imperial College London.  The independent committee, chaired by Professor Steven Brown of the MRC Mammalian Genetics Unit at Harwell, presented their report at an SMC briefing


Dr Vicky Robinson, Chief Executive of the NC3Rs, said:

“Since the launch of the NC3Rs almost ten years ago we have seen a big increase in the number of scientists committed to conducting animal research to the highest standards. To support this we need their employers, the research establishments, to also rise to this challenge. Many of them, like Imperial College, will have policies purporting to have the best possible standards. It is important that words are translated into action through appropriate ethical review, and having the right culture and organisational leadership.

As we have seen from the recent investigation even giants like Imperial College have some considerable work to do in this area. This isn’t the time for finger pointing but an opportunity for the scientific community to ensure that it is truly operating at the highest standards when it comes to the difficult issue of research using animals. The NC3Rs will be working with scientists and their research establishments to deliver this.”


Sharmila Nebhrajani, Chief Executive of Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), said:

“High standards of animal welfare are crucial. If research staff fall short of these standards then action is clearly needed. We are glad that Imperial commissioned an independent review, led by Professor Brown, and are pleased to see that Imperial has accepted in full his recommendations to improve process and practice in research using animals. AMRC members are committed to promoting high standards of welfare and the principles and practice of the 3Rs to refine, reduce and replace the use of animals in research.”


Dr Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust, said:

“We welcome Imperial’s decision to convene an independent panel to review its animal research and the panel’s openness in publishing its findings. The findings are a reminder that institutions should regularly scrutinise their framework for oversight, training and leadership for research using animals to ensure they maintain the high level of excellence the UK demands.”


‘Independent Investigation into Animal Research at Imperial College London’ by Brown et al. published on Tuesday 10th December


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