ACUREC, along with other 3 research ethics committees, was established in 2014 in addition to the Health Research Ethics Committee (HREC) based in the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan for human subject researches. This was to enhance the general administration of research ethics at the University of Ibadan. Professor Taiwo V. O. of the Department of Veterinary Pathology was the first Chairperson till 2016 when he handed over the leadership of the committee to Professor S. I. B. Cadmus of the Department of Veterinary Public Health and Veterinary Medicine.
ACUREC got its secretariat at the present location during the tenure of Professor Cadmus, courtesy the then Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Professor M. o. Oyeyemi. Professor Cadmus’ tenure came to an end in June 2020, and he handed over to Professor Victoria Olusola Adetunji who is the current Chairperson.
ACUREC: Institutional Animal Ethics Committee
The Federal and State agencies ensure regulation through the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). In the case of University of Ibadan this committee is known as University of Ibadan Animal Care and Use Research Ethics Committee (UI-ACUREC).
What is the UI-ACUREC?
- A Committee empowered by policy and law to ensure all research activities involving animals satisfy federal, state and local regulations and policies governing the use of animals in research.
To engender and promote an enabling environment for conducting experimental researches involving laboratory animals with globally acceptable standards, directed towards the wholesome benefit of the research community and the society at large.
To provide a platform geared towards educating the scientific world on global best practices as it concerns humane handling and use of laboratory animals for research purposes.
Animal Research Ethics and Ethical Approval
Why Ethical Approval?
- Increasingly, humans transgressed (and continue to transgress) their ecological responsibilities
- Instead of living within a circle of ecological mutual interest, humans act in self-interest and at the expense of a relationship within nature that is caring and responsible.
- Millions of animals are used every year in many extremely painful, distressing and disgraceful scientific procedures
Example of Issues Affecting Physical/Mental Welfare and Naturalness
- Restricting sows to stalls
- Naturalness: restriction of oral and social behavior
- Physical: mouth injuries from bar biting
- Mental: frustration and pain from mouth injuries
Principles Guiding Animal Care, Use and Research
- Design and performance of procedures on the basis of relevance to human or animal health, advancement of knowledge, or the good of society.
- Best practices in responsible and humane handling and management of animals used for research purposes.
- Use of appropriate species, quality, and number of animals.
- Provision of appropriate animal transportation and husbandry directed and performed by qualified persons.
- Conduct of experimentation on living animals exclusively by and/or under the close supervision of qualified and experienced personnel.
- Adequate identification of hazards and risks (if any) associated with those hazards while conducting the experiment.
- What are the dangers or hazards posed by the experimental procedure and adequate control measures to ensure safety and prevent contamination of the environment.
- Use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) especially when handling poisonous or infectious agents.
- Experimental facilities should be appropriately designed and standard operating procedures (SOPs) adhered to.
- State precisely where the experimental work will be carried out (i.e. Department, specific location where the animals will be housed and experimental work conducted).
- State if you have expertise in handling animals to be used OR state if you will get expert supports in handling and conducting the procedures on animals.
- Source (S) of the animals to be used must be stated.
- Best practices in animal/laboratory waste disposal to ensure environmental and human health.
5 Freedoms for Animals
- Freedom from hunger and thirst
- Freedom from discomfort
- Freedom from pain, injury and disease
- Freedom to express normal behavior
- Freedom from fear and distress
-WSPA and RSPCA
The ACUREC should ensure the three “Rs”
The three “Rs” are
- Reduce (reduce the number of animals to be used)
- Refine (modify protocol to minimize animal suffering)
- Replace (replace with non-animal models)
- Using animals for research activities is a privilege, not a right.
- It is a privilege that a scientist or an institution can lose if the ethical (e.g. legal and moral) responsibilities are not satisfied
- Remember you will (may) need to publish your research findings!
- Remember also that you are accountable to God for how you treat His creatures.
- Animal research cannot be rejected outright or embraced wholesale
- The merits of individual studies should be evaluated on a case by case basis
This is the actual basis for ethical evaluation (consideration) of animal use in research
Why Ethical Conduct in Research?
It is important for maintaining:
- Public trust (public money)
- Adherence to research requirements
- Best practices (international codes)
Two Positions on Use of Animals in Experiments
- Those in favour
Experimenting on animals is acceptable if:
- Suffering is minimized in all experiments
- Human benefits are gained which could not be obtained by using other methods
- Those against
Experimenting on animals is unacceptable because:
- It causes suffering to animals
- The benefits to human beings are not proven
- Any benefit to human beings that animal testing does provide could be produced in other ways
Moral Agreements on Ethical Animal Experimentation
- Both sides agree that animal research should only be used when all alternatives have been exhausted
- If they have been, the merits of proposed research should be evaluated concerning:
- The degree of animal suffering
- The number of animals involved
- The quality of the research
- The potential medical benefit
Ethics of Animal Use in Research
- Animals not only use their own language, but some can even learn human language
- Animals engage in complex problem-solving, and use tools to overcome obstacles
- Non-human primates, wolves and elephants maintain kinship ties, and experience grief
- They express love and affection
When Can Animals Be Used?
- When there are no other alternatives
- When confirmation has been made that research activities are not unnecessarily duplicating previously conducted experiments
- Experiments involving animals are relevant to human or animal health will advance scientific knowledge will be for the good of society