A common misconception of Faculty and other users about animal care is to assume animal care staff are fully and solely responsible for the observation and replenishment of food and water requirements for animals in the vivarium and that the users’ responsibility for their animals extends only to the performance of humane procedures on healthy animals.
There is no question that users care about the welfare of their animals and therefore perform research, fully cognisant of their obligations under the 3Rs, but the truly enlightened users care about their animals’ welfare and quality-of-life. This requires the users to be cognisant of the 4th R – Responsibility
APCF staff are ready to assist all Faculty and users in complying with their obligations in the humane care of animals under their control and ensuring the quality-of-life of all animals maintained at HKUST.
APCF staff check animal cages daily, as mandated by the various Guidelines and Codes of Practice described elsewhere in this infosite, but Faculty must also have their staff and students remain vigilant of lid security and feed & water requirements at all times, especially if cages are opened or animals handled after the daily APCF check or cages contain newborn, pre-weaners or vulnerable transgenics.
If Faculty have cage(s) containing newborn, pre-weaners or vulnerable transgenics please have their staff and students mark the cage(s) accordingly using the yellow Request Protocol Assistance card so that APCF staff can pay extra attention to the animals’ needs, e.g putting feed into the cage for ease of access of the young mice and for closer observation of the cage by APCF weekend staff.
The obligations of both Faculty and other users and APCF staff are described in the Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Experimental Purposes:
5.1 All investigators of a project, including Principal Investigator,
subordinate investigator and other members of the team who are
performing experiments must be appropriately licensed according to
the relevant sections of Cap. 340.
5.2 Investigators have direct and ultimate responsibility for all
matters related to the welfare of their animals. They must act in
accord with all requirements of this Code.
5.3 The responsibility of investigators extends over all facets of
the care and use of animals in projects approved by the AEC. This
responsibility begins when the animal is allocated to the approved
project and ends at the time of disposal of the animal.
5.4 Investigators are responsible for the standard of animal care
and use by all other persons involved in the project. They must
ensure that the extent of supervision is compatible with the level of
competence of each person and the responsibilities they are given.
6.40 The person-in-charge should be responsible for the
management of the day-today care of the animals in holding and
breeding facilities and for supervising the work of other staff in the
facility, and should act as liaison between the investigator and