The impact of the ethical review process for research using animals in the UK: attitudes to training and monitoring by those working under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986
A questionnaire-based survey of attitudes to the introduction of the Ethical Review Process (ERP) was carried out in late 1999, some 6–9 months after the introduction of the ERP to all establishments involved in animal experimentation in the UK. Five categories of people working
under the Act were surveyed (Certificate Holders, Named Veterinary Surgeons, Project and Personal Licensees and Named Animal Care and Welfare Officers) and about 45% of the 1636 questionnaires were returned. In general, respondents believed that licensees received training in their responsibilities
under the Act and that all groups received training in animal welfare and ethics. A high proportion of respondents believed that the quality of training in animal welfare was good or excellent, but about a quarter thought it only adequate. Training in ethics was believed to be of lower quality.
A high proportion of Named Veterinary Surgeons and Project Licensees, but fewer Personal Licensees, reported that they attended seminars, talks and training courses about animal welfare and ethics. The majority of respondents believed that the ERP had had no effect on training and animal welfare,
although a minority thought it had led to improvements. About two thirds of licensees and Named Veterinary Surgeons reported that their work with animals was monitored, although a third or more believed that their competence was not assessed. The adequacy of training and the assessment of
competence are essential for maintaining high standards of animal welfare. Certificate Holders believed that training and monitoring was more effective, and Personal Licensees believed it less effective, than did other groups.