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Science, Medicine, and Animals
3Rs—Principle of reducing the number of animals used in research, refining scientific procedures to minimize pain, and replacing animal experiments with in vitro models when possible.
The ASPA regulates through licensing projects and individuals. Project licenses are issued to those responsible for directing research programs and personal licenses are issued to individuals performing specific scientific procedures such as giving an injection or taking a blood sample. These licenses are reviewed and/or renewed every 5 years. The Animals Inspectorate is responsible for assessing applications for licenses and for inspecting work in progress to ensure compliance with ASPA, and each project must undergo an in-house ethical review process that usually involves a committee much like an IACUC.
The issuance of a project license is dependent on several factors including adherence to the 3Rs (see 3Rs section), justification of cost and benefit, and training and experience. When the justification of the project is considered, several issues are further examined, such as the number of animals used, the specific product or knowledge that will be gained, and the severity of the procedures involved. Personal licenses depend mostly on sponsorship, that is, having a recognized authority vouch for an applicant’s qualifications, training, experience, competence, and character. The personal license also dictates the individual’s level of supervision and outlines the specific guidelines on the use of anesthetics, drugs, animal husbandry, and so forth that must be followed.