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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

A drone is not a cop – UN rights expert concerned about technologies that depersonalise the use of force - 23/10/2014
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, has raised concern about the increasing use of technologies that depersonalise the use of force –including armed drones– not only on the battlefield, but also in domestic law enforcement.
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Centre for Natural Hazards relaunched - a new model - 23/10/2014
A new model of the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Natural Hazards in Africa (formerly known as Aon Benfield Natural Hazard Centre, Africa) was recently launched with the objective of accommodating the changes in its strategy
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UP’s Exceptional Young Researcher of 2014 delivers findings to an international audience - 23/10/2014
Prof Darryn Knobel is providing great insight into the control and foreseeable elimination of rabies. He recently presented his work at the 39th World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Congress held in Cape Town. Prof Knobel leads UP’s Faculty of Veterinary Science’s research group on dog population ecology and rabies epidemiology, which studies the ecology of owned, free-roaming dog populations in resource-constrained communities, particularly at wildlife interfaces. The group's aim is to better understand the interactions between dog population dynamics and rabies control, as well as other aspects of dog health and welfare.
[Read More]
 
Centre for Intellectual Property Law hosts Faculty's second annual Prestige Lecture - 22/10/2014
Prof Esmé du Plessis, former partner and currently senior consultant at Adams & Adams and extraordinary professor in the Department of Private Law at the University of Pretoria, presented the Faculty's second annual Prestige Lecture on “Dynamics of Intellectual Property Law: Interfaces with other areas of law”.
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Research published on challenges in South Africa’s rural education - 22/10/2014
An article about research partnerships in the South African rural education community, co-authored by four staff members in the Faculty of Education of the University of Pretoria (UP), will appear in the January 2015 edition of the acclaimed journal, Teaching and Teacher Education.
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Social Development Month (October) - 22/10/2014
Pro-poor strategies such as social grants, the national school nutrition programme and the expanded Public Works Programme, amongst others, reflect a better understanding in that the most vulnerable are assisted to break the poverty trap.
[Read More]
 
Living Lab for Innovative Teaching Research established in UP’s Faculty of Education - 21/10/2014
The Living Lab for Innovative Teaching Research at the University of Pretoria (LLITUP), a research unit aimed at interdisciplinary research collaboration in teaching and learning, was launched at UP’s Groenkloof Library Research Commons on 17 October 2014.
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