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Animal Ethics Committee (AEC)

ANIMAL ETHICS COMMITTEE (AEC)

(Previously known as the Animal Use and Care Committee – AUCC)

Welcome to the website of the AEC, a subcommittee of the Committee for Research Ethics and Integrity of the University of Pretoria, which reports to its Senate Committee for Research. All the faculties of UP involved in research for which experimental animals are used are represented on the AEC, i.e. Veterinary Science, Health Sciences and Natural and Agricultural Sciences. In addition the UP Biomedical Research Centre (UPBRC), the Law Faculty and the National SPCA are represented, the latter as representative of the public and of animal welfare organizations. The mandate of the AEC is to ensure that the use of experimental animals is necessary, that the number of animals used is reduced to a minimum, that unnecessary suffering of the animals is excluded and their well-being ensured and that the National Code of welfare standards for each species is maintained. A secondary goal is to protect the university and its faculties as well as the researchers from possible legal action. In order to achieve these goals all projects involving experimental animals have to be submitted to and approved by the AEC before it may proceed. Similarly, the use of animals for teaching purposes is also screened and approved on an annual basis.

Following legal advice, the Senate Committee for Research Ethics decided that all studies involving animals, even purely observational studies on wild animals, for example, must be approved by the AEC. We therefore included the collection of nasal and pharyngeal swabs in our latest version of the questionnaire, for example. We also have to approve studies where blood or other samples are used which have been collected during previous studies. According to international guidelines, ethical approval is required for studies using specimens from a bio-bank or previously stored samples

 
Utilization of the UPBRC

In 2002 the University of Pretoria approved the establishment of its Biomedical Research Centre at the Onderstepoort Campus as a centralized facility for research involving experimental animals. The mandate of the Centre includes the following:

  1. The provision of facilities for experimental animals that meet the highest international standards.
  2. The training of specialized professional and technical staff who can assist and supervise researchers in carrying out approved research projects involving experimental animals.
  3. Assuring that all ethical and legal requirements for the care and use of experimental animals, as set out in the National Standard, are met, thus protecting both the researcher and the University against possible legal actions.
  4. The improvement of the general standard of animal experimentation and ensuring that animal use is justified.

Utilization of the UPBRC facilities

Establishment of the UPBRC was preceded by extensive negotiations between the faculties involved. Agreement was reached that in order to meet the above requirements, and to justify the considerable investment by the university, it was essential that its facilities should be used whenever possible.

Consequently the Grové Animal Centre at the Faculty of Health Sciences and various other small animal housing units were closed down and all experimental procedures which involves animals and which will benefit man or other animals must be done at the UPBRC. However, the following exceptions to this rule were agreed upon:

  1. Where animals are used for teaching purposes they may be housed at the relevant department, provided that adequate housing and qualified staff are available and have been approved by the AEC.
  2. When animals are studied for their own benefit, as in the case of the Zoology Department, it can be done at their own specialized facilities after inspection and approval by the AEC. The same applies to studies on farm animals at the ‘proefplaas’ and on wildlife by the Mammal Research Institute.
  3. When facilities outside the University are used, they need to be approved by the AEC and/or the NSPCA and in some cases by DAFF.

 

News

Castle Lager, Mark Boucher and the Veterinary Genetics Lab put rhinos in safe hands - 19/09/2014
Cricket icon Mark Boucher is not only a champion sportsman, but also someone who is committed to playing his part to protect rhinos from extinction. After retiring from cricket, he partnered with Castle Lager to set up the Castle Lager Boucher Legacy – Rhino in Safe Hands. Boucher chose to specifically support UP’s Veterinary Genetics Laboratory (VGL) and aims to raise enough money to register all South Africa’s rhinos onto the DNA database of the VGL, known as RhODIS.
[Read More]
 
Daspoort Clinic Celebrates 50 years! - 19/09/2014
Medical and health care science students have been providing free primary health care and assistive interventions to needy patients in Daspoort for 50 years.
[Read More]
 
TuksFootball shines for the University of Pretoria - 19/09/2014
TuksFootball has made the University extremely proud by retaining the Varsity Sports title, said the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Cheryl de la Rey on Thursday at a function where the 2014 champions were duly honoured.
[Read More]
 
Unlocking the secrets of lightning - 19/09/2014
In South Africa, approximately 80 to 100 people die each year as a result of lightning strikes, and approximately seven times as many people are struck and survive. Dr Ryan Blumenthal, a senior specialist in the Department of Forensic Medicine in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Pretoria, has spent over ten years researching the effects of lightning on the human and the animal body and is very knowledgeable on the risks associated with this capricious and unpredictable natural phenomenon.
[Read More]
 
World Rhino day 2014: Research by the University of Pretoria to aid in the Rhino’s fight for survival - 19/09/2014
World Rhino Day on 22 September celebrates all five species of rhino – the Black, White, Greater One-Horned, Sumatran and Javan rhinos- living abundantly and free. Initiated in 2010 by WWF-South Africa when poaching started to escalate, it has since became an international event, uniting people and organisations from across the world who are committed to saving these animals.
[Read More]
 
Twin taxonomic appointments on international commissions for two UP microbiologists - 17/09/2014
Two staff members of the Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and researchers associated with FABI, were recently elected to serve on the international bodies governing bacterial and fungal taxonomy.
[Read More]
 
Mass vaccination can keep this neglected disease under control - 16/09/2014
Mass dog vaccination campaigns can have a substantial impact on keeping rabies under control.
[Read More]