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Guidelines for the Humane Transportation of Research Animals
unavailable by partnering to encourage reliable ground transport, perhaps through professional societies.
The committee also recommends that federal agencies that fund nonhuman-primate research and the commercial shipping community coordinate an initiative to develop a self-contained overshipper to ship nonhuman primates (and other animals) that pose a significant risk of zoonotic exposure. An overshipper is a closed, environmentally controlled container into which a standard primary enclosure is loaded in order to prevent a zoonotic exposure. The advantages in safety, security, and convenience could encourage more airlines to transport nonhuman primates. In addition, with increased research focus on potential agents of bio-terrorism, an overshipper could increase the ability of the research community to access or exchange established animal models of infectious and zoonotic diseases.
The complex and confusing regulatory environment surrounding the transportation of research animals led the committee to recommend the establishment of an interagency working group to coordinate all federal inspection and permitting activities related to the transportation of research animals and their products. Currently five federal agencies have oversight authority on various aspects of the transportation process. The resulting overlap of authority presents a significant regulatory burden to individual researchers and commercial shipping operations. Establishing a working group would centralize operations and communications, and would reduce regulatory burden by minimizing the number of inspections and permits that must be issued for each shipment. The committee also recommends that the various federal agencies work to clarify confusing and inconsistent regulations that pertain to transportation of research animals and their products, and in particular the Animal Welfare Act regulations, which are the federal regulations that establish standards for animal welfare that apply to most species of research animals during transportation.
Many issues must be considered in order to ensure the comfort, well-being, and safety of research animals during transportation. This can present a challenge to individuals at research institutions that have little previous experience with facilitating the transportation of research animals. These investigators may be unfamiliar with practices that address the welfare of animals, methods that minimize transit time, and charac-