laboratory animal research as we attempt to replicate human diseases. However, one of the attractive aspects of the Humane Society's approach for simplifying the categorization of pain and distress is to facilitate work among investigators, veterinary staff, and IACUC members to try to “down-categorize” otherwise painful or distressful protocols with appropriate use of drugs and other modes of pain and distress relief. We should focus on the overall pain or distress experienced and incorporate modalities of pain or distress relief into study designs. Perhaps then we will be increasingly able to classify protocols not as Category E but instead as Category D or C because the appropriate interventions have been applied.
I also advocate increased attention to and definition of specific experimental endpoints that can minimize pain and distress. This would be another advantage of a more simple categorization that, instead of emphasizing the processes involved, requires an answer to the following questions:
“Did the animal utilized in this study experience moderate or severe pain or distress?”
“If so, could we have down-categorized an otherwise painful procedure by choosing an earlier experimental endpoint?”
Obviously, earlier experimental endpoints might be as effective as interventions with drugs.
Finally, I want to echo the other speakers who have pointed out that a cooperative venture is required. No one involved in the responsible conduct of science does not want to minimize pain and distress of laboratory animals. High-quality science requires that we do this. The investigators who design and execute a study, the IACUC members who review the protocols, and the veterinary staff who monitor the process all share the goal of humane care and treatment of our incredibly valuable laboratory animals. By working together, I believe we can develop policies and procedures that are relatively simple, can be understood, can be consistently applied, and are, in fact, good for the animals.
DR. DE HAVEN (Ron DeHaven, USDA): Dr. Rich, you suggested that we not codify examples of the categories (minor, moderate, and severe) in regulation