Housing Standards: Development of Guidelines and the Process for Change

William J. White

The 1996 Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Guide) is the most recent version of seven editions of the document beginning with the 1963 edition. The 1963 Guide was developed by a committee of seven members and consisted of 33 pages divided into three sections, whereas the 1996 Guide was developed by a committee of 16 members and spanned 125 pages divided into five sections. The charge to the 1996 Guide committee was to develop a guidance document for laboratory animal care and use—not to develop regulations.


The writing of the 1996 Guide spanned five committee meetings and involved seven major drafts with numerous minor drafts developed over a 2-year period. The major sections of the Guide were selected based on the principal components of an animal care and use program. Sub-committees of the parent committee prepared drafts of sections for full committee review and discussion. Literature searches were provided by the National Agricultural Library. The final document underwent two rounds of external review before being published.

The charge to the committee and the committee’s approach set the tone for the document. It was thought that previous guidelines were accepted and generally were serving well; hence the committee was charged with updating and improving, as well as addressing any short-

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