Membership of animal ethics committee
Animal Ethics Committees (AEC) conduct meetings to consider issues associated with animal research or teaching.
The role of AECs is to:
- review, discuss, approve, reject or revoke approval for proposals to perform animal research or teaching
- document their consideration of proposals
- have guidelines on procedures for animal research or teaching
- inspect animals and facilities used in research or teaching
AECs may form sub-committees to manage business between meetings but, may only make decisions on research protocols at full meetings. The quorum for an AEC meeting must include a representative from each category of membership (A, B, C and D).
Decisions must be reached by consensus. The minutes of an AEC meeting must record the reasons for any decision made concerning research proposals. Minor changes to protocols can be approved by an Executive of the AEC (which must include at least one external member from Categories C or D).
These decisions, however, must be reviewed by the Committee at the next meeting.
Research establishments must provide AECs with sufficient resources and the necessary authority to permit them to perform their duties effectively. Large establishments may appoint several AECs to adequately cope with their business and may also nominate an animal welfare officer.
AECs can also advise that the institution discipline an investigator who does not comply with the Code of Practice or other legislation and can also refuse them approval to conduct research. They may also be empowered to withdraw all approvals to conduct research for a stipulated period.
AECs have responsibility for the operation of animal houses and supply units which are under their control. They can inspect any place where animals are used in the research establishment and require that adequate care, including provision for emergencies, is provided.
The minutes of AEC meetings must be kept for a minimum of seven years