Animal Welfare at Novartis
The welfare of animals in our care is of primary concern to us for reasons of ethics, accuracy, reliability and applicability of scientific studies. Good animal welfare is a prerequisite for good science because reducing the stress levels in animals improves the quality of our scientific results. Novartis is committed to globally achieving high standards of animal welfare whenever animals are involved in research at Novartis.
We have an Animal Welfare Policy and a set of Animal Welfare Standards that define key principles, responsibilities and explicit requirements governing animal research.
We strictly adhere to international conventions (such as the EC Directive 86/609the 1986 European Union law regarding the protection of animals used for research and other scientific purposes. and the USDA Animal Welfare Act) and Health Authority regulations and guidelines in all of the countries where we operate.
In 2005, the Novartis Animal Welfare Policy was approved by the Novartis Group Executive Committee. This policy sets out the key principles, requirements and responsibilities relating to animal welfare in Novartis-sponsored animal studies. It states that:
- all animals must be treated humanely;
- all animals must be cared for in accordance with the particular needs of the species;
- and it reaffirms our commitment to the 3Rs (Reduction, Refinement, Replacement)
Novartis takes any animal misconduct seriously. Animal mishandling is reported to the Business Practice Office and cases of misconduct can lead to severe disciplinary action including and up to termination of the job.
To ensure that the animal welfare skills of our researchers remain state-of-the-art, Novartis offers a broad set of training programs, including:
- anesthesia medicines that block sensation so no pain is felt.
- analgesia medicines to reduce pain, also known as painkillers. and surgical techniques
- ethical training
Our animal welfare officers and researchers are dedicated to the care and well-being of the animals needed for research at all times.
The Novartis Global Animal Welfare Organization
To ensure that laboratory animals are well-treated, Novartis has established a Global Animal Welfare Organization. It sets, implements and monitors global animal welfare standards for studies and procedures pursued internally and with external partners at a local and global level. This organization also conducts regular audits of all Novartis animal facilities and Novartis-contracted third parties using animals.
“More than 40 Novartis animal welfare officers are part of an internal team responsible for ensuring the implementation of, and adherence with, Novartis standards internally and with external partners.”
The Global Animal Welfare Organizationa group within Novartis that sets, implements and monitors global animal welfare standards for both internal animal research and studies pursued with external partners at a local and global level. is overseen by our Corporate Animal Welfare Officer (CAWO). This function is backed up by six Global Animal Welfare Officers (AWOs) responsible for animal welfare in the Pharmaceuticals, Vaccines & Diagnostics, Sandoz, Animal Health, Over-the-Counter and Alcon Divisions. These Global AWOs liaise in turn with National and Site AWOs.
In addition, Novartis has established a Global Animal Welfare Committee to steer policy and coordinate all animal welfare related activities. It defines animal welfare standards and discusses recent developments in animal welfare, issues and regulations.
More than 40 Novartis Animal Welfare Officers are part of an internal team responsible for adherence with Novartis standards internally and when working with external partners.