procedures. He stressed the importance of appropriate anesthesia, pain relief, and postoperative care.
Remarkably, the congressman discussed the “Three Rs” in his remarks. He talked about refinement and statistical analysis as a method of eliminating excessive animal use. Furthermore, he expressed the belief that institutions should provide references to research publications as part of their reporting requirement, hinting at responsibility of the scientists to demonstrate publicly the prudence and productivity of their animal research efforts. Pepper was a visionary (and/or had extraordinary staffers), and most of his ideas were adopted 20 or more years later. Is this 20-year delay evidence for the effective stonewalling of sound regulatory advances by the scientific community as the animal protection/rights organizations have claimed? Or, alternatively, should we continue to be concerned that the advocacy for animal welfare in research has been translated into an advocacy for excessive, runaway regulation as claimed by the scientific community?
The chasm between these perspectives has a pragmatic as well as a philosophical dimension:
How much effort should we invest in bridging the gap between these perspectives;
Does or should a cost benefit analysis prevail here as it does in virtually all other policy-making decisions; and most importantly,
Have we really accomplished anything to benefit the animals?
These points aside for now, Pepper and the Congress were clear in one issue: Some pain and distress may be justified and necessary. To quote Pepper, “If it is avoidable in the interest in promoting the health and protecting the lives and prolonging the lives of human beings, I am not here to oppose that.”
Congress was also careful in wording the 1966 AWA. Note their selection of the word “afflict” as opposed to the word “affect,” with a more neutral connotation in the following statement: “The use of animals is instrumental . . . for diseases which afflict both humans and animals.” According to Webster's dictionary, “afflict” means to distress with mental or bodily pain and to trouble greatly or grievously. Thus, Congress too has openly registered its assent that some level of pain and distress may be necessary. Later language in the AWA importunes us to “minimize pain and distress in animals” but not eradicate it. I believe these nuances in language are especially important because they are a directive from Congress to the USDA-Animal Care that a cost benefit analysis in the hands of