Many Nigerian varsities laboratories, animal research facilities in deplorable state – VCN
THE Acting Registrar /CE of Veterinary Council of Nigeria (VCN) Dr Josiah Kantyok has lamented the deplorable state of laboratory Animal Welfare and animal research facilities in majority of the universities in Nigeria.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the National Workshop on Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) /Animal Ethics Committee (AEC), Dr Kantyok said very few institutions have AEC that coordinate and give approvals to use animal in research.
He said the VCN before now had identified the need for Nigeria to ensure global best practices in animal experimentation.
“The veterinary Council of Nigeria (VCN) in line with the provisions of the OIE terrestrial animal health code on animal welfare, has before now identified the need for Nigeria to ensure global best practices in animal experimentation.
“This is to involve development of policy and regulatory framework that will help to coordinate and moderate animal research facility, use of animals and researchers”, he said.
He, therefore, said “adequate of instruction of students cannot be successfully carried out without the use of animals in programs like agriculture, biological science, and human veterinary medicine, thus the need for constant training in laboratory animal welfare/use.
“Today in many Nigerian universities, laboratory animal welfare is in deplorable state with animal research facilities that are below standard without meeting basic requirements.
“Most times, research proposal are approved without knowing the conditions of animals to be used in the research. Yet students and researchers are publishing papers and receiving degree/awards but data generated cannot be reproduced”, he noted.
Furthermore, he said “Nigeria at present is said to have 174 universities made up of 43 Federal universities, 52 state universities, 79 private universities and many research institutes where animals are used in research, testing and education.
“It is sad and appalling to say that very few of these institutions have Animal Ethics Committee (AEC), that coordinate and give approvals to use animal in research. Even when such AEC exist, their composition, power and functions might not be in line with global best practice.
“Laboratory animals or animals in the best state of welfare are known to deliver good results/output. Animal experimentation is fundamental to bio-medical science not only for our understanding of the nature of life and the mechanism of specific vital process but also for improvement of methods of preventionm diagnosis and treatment of diseases both by man and in animals”.
Dr Kantyok said the act of carrying out animal experiment in Nigeria without an oversight by ACEs has been a challenge, he said this unfortunately is the reason why editors of international journals demand evidence of ethical approval of a study by a properly constituted AEC/IACUC, as well as why veterinary research studies are not accepted for publication.
“In view of the above the VCN, a regulatory body with the responsibility and mandate of ensuring quality /standard in the training and practice of veterinary medicine (Animal health), sees the state of animal holding facility, health/welfare of the animals and the management process as being critical to a successful animal care and use program policy implementation”, he added.