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Science, Medicine, and Animals
THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE POLICY ON HUMANE CARE AND USE OF LABORATORY ANIMALS (PHS POLICY)
Another federal standard that guides the care and use of laboratory animals is the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (PHS Policy). PHS Policy is based on the Health Research Extension Act passed by Congress in 1985. This law applies to any research facility that receives PHS funds, which includes most universities and colleges that perform animal research. Scientists must comply with guidelines set forth in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (the Guide, see below). Each research facility must maintain an IACUC and report whether they have AAALAC International accreditation (see below). While PHS Policy applies only to PHS-funded research, it is broader than the Animal Welfare Act in that all vertebrate animals (including fish and reptiles) are covered.
INSTITUTIONAL ANIMAL CARE AND USE COMMITTEE (IACUC)
An IACUC is established at each institution to review all proposed animal experiments. Each animal protocol must include: (1) a justification for using animals, the number of animals to be used, and the species chosen, (2) the procedures or drugs to be used to eliminate or minimize pain and discomfort, (3) a description of the methods and sources used to search for alternatives to painful procedures, and (4) a description of the search used to ensure that the experiment does not unnecessarily duplicate previous research.
An IACUC typically has at least five members, one of whom must be a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine responsible for animal care at the institution. The committee must also include at least one scientist experienced in animal research, a professional whose primary concerns are not scientific (for example, an ethicist, clergyperson, or lawyer) and a member who is not affiliated with the institution in any