expertise, and research goals) so that implementation can be best tailored to meet the recommendations in the Guide.

Ideally, engineering and performance standards are balanced, setting a target for optimal practices, management, and operations while encouraging flexibility and judgment, if appropriate, based on individual situations (Gonder et al. 2001).

Scientists, veterinarians, technicians, and others have extensive experience and information covering many of the topics discussed in the Guide. For topics on which information is insufficient or incomplete, sustained research into improved methods of laboratory animal management, care, and use is needed for the continued evaluation and improvement of performance and engineering standards.

Practice standard means the application of professional judgment by qualified, experienced individuals to a task or process over time, an approach that has been demonstrated to benefit or enhance animal care and use. Professional judgment comes from information in the peer-reviewed scientific literature and textbooks and, as in many other disciplines, from time-proven experiences in the field (for additional information see Chapter 2). In the absence of published scientific literature or other definitive sources, where experience has demonstrated that a particular practice improves animal care and use, practice standards have been used in determining appropriate recommendations in the Guide. In most situations, the Guide is intended to provide flexibility so that institutions can modify practices and procedures with changing conditions and new information.


Policies commonly derive from a public agency or private entity. They are generally practical statements of collective wisdom, convention, or management direction that are internal to the entity. However, policies may assume broader force when they become the means by which an implementing agency interprets existing statutes (e.g., PHS Policy). Principles are broader in their scope and intended application, and are accepted generalizations about a topic that are frequently endorsed by many and diverse organizations (e.g., the U.S. Government Principles). Procedures (often called “operating procedures” or “standard operating procedures”) are typically detailed, step-by-step processes meant to ensure the consistent application of institutional practices. Establishing standard operating procedures can assist an institution in complying with regulations, policies, and principles as well as with day-to-day operations and management.

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