Home Office inspectors are registered veterinary or medical practitioners.
Their main duties are:
- To advise the Secretary of State on applications for licences, and on requests for their amendment or revocation;
- To advise on the periodic review of licences, including retrospective assessments;
- To visit licensed breeding, supplying and user establishments, and other places where work under the Act is carried out (POLEs), to monitor standards and practices and compliance with the Act and the conditions of any licences. These visits are often unannounced;
- To report all non-compliance and recommend the action to be taken; and
- To encourage good practices and the development of a “culture of care” in the establishment.
Inspectors can require an animal to be killed if they consider that it is suffering excessively. They also have the right of access to all areas of the facility, and to inspect all records relating to procedures on animals. During their visits, most inspectors will draw attention to any issues of concern, and will also make a formal report to the Secretary of State.
Your inspector should be a source of advice and up-to-date information on Home Office matters, and general issues relating to the use of animals in research.