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Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 2000. Definition of Pain and Distress and Reporting Requirements for Laboratory Animals: Proceedings of the Workshop Held June 22, 2000. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10035.
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Introduction

Ralph B. Dell

Director

Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR)

Welcome. The purpose of this workshop is to talk to representatives of the USDA about principles and definitions pertaining to the recognition and alleviation of pain and distress in laboratory animals. Several questions are related:

  • Can we compose a definition?

  • Can we produce language that will inform both the people who will carry out the regulations and the people who will inspect the process to determine whether, indeed, the institution is responding to the regulations appropriately?

An underlying question is:

  • Can we come up with language or words that go across all species or should we choose language that is somewhat dependent on the species we are describing.

This workshop provides an opportunity for the speakers and members of the audience to engage in a discussion of the definitions of pain, distress, and how one can recognize and alleviate the pain and distress that can occur in the course of using animals in biomedical research as well as in education and testing. The purpose of the workshop is to focus on the proposed wording for the USDA to use in writing regulations that will implement the Animal Welfare Act. Because the Animal Welfare Act contains the phrase “pain and distress,” the USDA must define those terms to implement the act.

I want to thank all of you for coming and participating in this important event. We have organized the program to have presentations by people on the

Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 2000. Definition of Pain and Distress and Reporting Requirements for Laboratory Animals: Proceedings of the Workshop Held June 22, 2000. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10035.
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regulatory side first and then presentations by people who are students of animal welfare/animal behavior as well as pain physiology. The latter part of the program will involve people who will build on the foregoing presentation and will propose language and definitions for possible use in policies and in regulations.

In 1992, ILAR published a report titled Recognition and Alleviation of Pain and Distress in Laboratory Animals (NRC 1992). Other questions we should address today are the following:

  • Are the principles and definitions articulated in that report still current?

  • Can they be used by practitioners and by researchers to evaluate and treat pain and distress in the laboratory animals they are using?

  • Are the principles and the language in that report clear (unambiguous) enough for the USD A to use in their policies and regulations?

If not, then one of the tasks of ILAR will be to set up a committee to revise that report for consistency with modern and current thinking. That matter is another aspect of today's workshop.

I would now like to introduce Dr. Ron DeHaven, who is well known to everyone in the room. Dr. DeHaven is Deputy Administrator of Animal Care for USDA/APHIS.

REFERENCE

NRC [National Research Council]. 1992. Recognition and Alleviation of Pain and Distress in Laboratory Animals . Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 2000. Definition of Pain and Distress and Reporting Requirements for Laboratory Animals: Proceedings of the Workshop Held June 22, 2000. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10035.
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Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 2000. Definition of Pain and Distress and Reporting Requirements for Laboratory Animals: Proceedings of the Workshop Held June 22, 2000. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10035.
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In this first in a proposed series of workshops on regulatory issues in animal care and use, the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR) has addressed the existing and proposed requirements for reporting pain and distress in laboratory animals. The Animal Welfare Act, administered by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), mandates that pain and distress in laboratory animals be minimized. USDA is considering two policy changes with regard to this specific mandate. Firstly, since there has been no functional definition of "distress," USDA has prepared such a definition and requested feedback from the scientific community on its usefulness for regulatory and reporting requirements.

The second issue concerns the pain and distress categorization scheme for reporting to USDA. Various groups and individuals have questioned the efficacy of the current categories, and specific changes have been proposed by the Humane Society of the United States. USDA is considering these and other potential changes to the existing scheme. Thus, given these potential changes to animal welfare policy, the aim of the ILAR/NIH joint workshop was to provide feedback to the USDA. The speakers were asked to address these two issues as well as to comment upon whether the information contained in the 1992 ILAR report Recognition and Alleviation of Pain and Distress in Laboratory Animals is still useful to investigators in assisting them to comply with regulations. The speakers provided perspectives based on their individual expertise in the areas of science of pain and distress, animal welfare policy, protocol review, and/or as representatives of relevant organizations or institutions. The following proceedings are an edited transcript of their presentations.

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