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University Biomedical Services (UBS)


Their role under Home Office Guidelines is to:

Named Animal Care and Welfare Officers are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day husbandry, care and welfare of the protected animals held at their establishment. They should be a source of independent advice on welfare and care to minimise suffering and optimise the welfare of all animals that are bred, kept for use or used at the establishment.

A suitable person might, for example, be a senior animal technician with an animal technology qualification, or an experienced stockperson with a qualification in agricultural science. The IAT maintains a Register of Animal Technologists who may be appropriate to fill a NACWO post. Further details are available at

NACWOs should have appropriate personal authority to promote high standards and will need good communication and diplomacy skills to champion a culture of care amongst both scientific and husbandry staff.  The Home Office expect NACWOs to have appropriate managerial authority to enable them to ensure that high standards of husbandry and care are practised, meeting or exceeding the minimum standards set out in the Code of Practice.

This responsibility extends into all areas named on the establishment licence.

The Named Animal Care and Welfare Officer should:

  • be familiar with the main provisions of ASPA;

  • have up-to-date knowledge and experience of relevant animal technology and a thorough knowledge of the husbandry and welfare needs of the species kept in the establishment;

  • be aware of the standards of care, accommodation, husbandry and welfare set out in the Code of Practice and take appropriate steps to develop and maintain high standards of care and husbandry appropriate to the species;

  • know about relevant methods of humane killing listed in ASPA Schedule 1 and any additional approved methods specified on the establishment licence, and either be competent in their use or be able to contact others, who are named on your establishment’s register of qualified persons;

  • be able to recognise the signs of pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm in the species for which you care and ensure that there is available expertise to monitor all animals to recognise any variation from normal health and behaviour; know which areas of your establishment are listed in the ‘Schedule of Premises’ on the establishment licence;

  • establish a system to ensure that a competent person sees and checks every animal kept in an approved holding area at least once daily;

  • know how to contact, at any time, the Named Veterinary Surgeon or their deputy, and the establishment licence holder or their nominee. At user establishments you should also know how to contact project and personal licence holders;

  • pro-actively, working with the NVS as appropriate, promote implementation of refinements in animal care, husbandry and use;

  • be familiar with the main provisions of project licences, particularly the adverse effects expected for each protocol, the control measures and humane end-points specified and the methods of killing specified in licences;

  • champion a culture of care at your establishment acting as a role model for all those who care for, and use, animals;

  • help the establishment licence holder to keep suitable records of the health of the animals (under the supervision of the Named Veterinary Surgeon); of the environmental conditions in the approved areas in which animals are held; and of the source and disposal of animals; and

  • be an active member of the AWERB at your establishment, and advise applicants for licences and licence holders on practical opportunities for implementing the 3Rs. (Note: At least one NACWO at the establishment must be a full member of the AWERB.)

  • If the health or welfare of an animal is giving cause for concern you must tell the personal licence holder who is responsible for the welfare of that animal. If that person is unavailable, you must ensure that the animal is cared for, and, if necessary, that it is humanely killed using a Schedule 1 method, or another method approved in the establishment licence as per ASPA section 2C(7). If you have any doubt about what you should do, you should contact the Named Veterinary Surgeon or your assigned inspector as per ASPA section 2C(8).

  • Where a NACWO is also a project licence holder or a personal licence holder, another person should be nominated to fulfill the role of NACWO for providing advice on the welfare of animals being used under that project or personal licence. Alternatively, the arrangement may be overseen by the AWERB, on behalf of the establishment licence holder, to ensure there is no conflict of interest.

Guidelines for the Welfare and Use of Animals in Cancer Research (British Journal of Cancer)

Guiding Principles for Behavioural Laboratory Animal Sciences (LASA, BNA, BAP, ESSWAP Foundation)

Guidelines for the Use of Cell Lines in Biomedical Research (British Journal of Cancer)

Guiding Principles for Preparing for and Undertaking Aseptic Surgery V2 (LASA)