Ulster University's use of animals in research is guided by the following principles:
- Animals are only used in research programmes where there are no alternatives. The minimum number of animals consistent with the objectives of the research is used and the animals are housed in environmental conditions, which are optimal for species, age and physiological status.
- All work involving animals is carried out under licenses issued by the DHSSPS. Licenses are issued after a detailed analysis has been undertaken of the potential benefits of the work compared with the possible adverse effects on the animals used in the work.
- The University's use of animals is scrutinised by an ethical review process, which includes lay representation (including members external to the University).
- The Ethical Review Process assesses all new license applications, reviews the progress on licenses that have been approved by the DHSSPS and monitors and inspects the standards of animal care, welfare and accommodation within the University. The Process checks that those working with animals are aware of their responsibilities and receive appropriate training.
- The results of research which has involved the use of animals is regularly published to advance knowledge, disseminate good practice and minimise the requirement for other scientists to undertake similar work elsewhere.
- The University is committed to the principles of reduction, refinement and replacement (3R's). It ensures that the number of animals used is minimised.
- Scientists, technicians and veterinarians who deal with the animals on a daily basis care about the well-being of animals. All staff involved in animal research are trained to standards which are approved by recognised professional bodies and which adhere to national standards. The University supervises all staff appropriately and provides suitable facilities so that staff can carry out their duties responsibly and humanely. A veterinary surgeon is available at all times for advice and help on the welfare of animals and the conduct of research.
- The University is committed to maintaining high standards of laboratory animal housing and care and believes this makes a vital contribution to the quality of the research. The animal facilities comply with all national laws, guidelines and codes of conduct and the University regards these standards as a minimum. Home Office Inspectors visit regularly, often unannounced, to check that the projects and the animal care facilities meet statutory requirements.