In order to quantify the amount of clinical research conducted on client-owned animals under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966, and the nature and extent of any ethical review of that research, a questionnaire was sent to 6 UK veterinary schools, 1 charity veterinary clinic and 12 private referral clinics. The questionnaire examined whether and how much clinical research respondents undertook, and the composition of any ethical review panels examining research proposals. The questionnaire revealed a substantial amount of clinical research was conducted in the UK, with over 200 veterinary surgeons involved in the year of the survey, with at least 170 academic papers involving clinical research published by respondents in the same year. However, it proved impossible to quantify the full extent of clinical research in the UK. All UK veterinary schools required ethical review of clinical research. The composition and working practices of their ethical review panels generally reflected skill sets in ethical review panels set-up under statute to consider the ethics of non-clinical biomedical research on animals and clinical research conducted on human patients. The process for review of clinical research in the private sector was less clear.
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