total—45% in categories D or E. In my opinion, more should have been placed in Category E. But 45% compares well with reports in the Netherlands. But these animals' populations in research are declining rapidly, unlike those of mice.
When Ralph Dell asked me 3 weeks ago to talk, I asked our librarians to do a 1995-2000 Medline and Agricola literature search on key words: rats-pain, mice-pain, and rabbits-pain. In a few hours, Mrs. Grimes called to say that Medline had 3000 rat-pain articles and 2000 mouse pain articles, and Agricola had many also. So much information, so little coordination, so few journal reviews.
Someone out there must think, are thinking, about distress and pain in rodents and rabbits and preaching convincingly. Yet, the open positions and salaries for persons willing to do what I do seem to be expanding while the number of available, qualified applicants with clinical training is declining. Even NIH does not train John Harkness types any more.
Establish definitions of distress and pain, using the ones we have as a basis. In all the papers and books I have read, I have seen many very understandable, useful definitions. How much more time needs to be spent? But if you flood us with other subjective, unmeasurable terms and flow charts, we will laugh and lose interest. Speak to us as does the New York Times, as busy 12 year olds, not as desk-bound philosophers.
Promulgate again and again in palatable form with one voice the signs of pain and non-pain induced distress. We accept those oft published lists for rabbits and rodents. We know the signs. Now we need on that subject more communicators and fewer committees.
Develop valid, reliable, sensitive and model scales for groups to evaluate and rank our perceptions of an animal's perceptions. Publish the research results and keep the language simple.
After doing the above, or after promising to revise whatever you do prematurely, give us more detailed ways to categorize distress and pain, even if the purpose is to inform the IACUCs of the nature of distress and pain of the study under review. You will find me and our IACUC very receptive.
In addition, I think in this country only the Guide and the USDA regulations, but regulations above all, can accomplish these goals, if the authors are sufficiently research wise and are willing to compromise on details, reduce debate, and promulgate practical and reasoned doctrines.