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Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 1996. Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5140.
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Introduction

This edition of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (the Guide) strongly affirms the conviction that all who care for or use animals in research, teaching, or testing must assume responsibility for their well-being. The Guide is applicable only after the decision is made to use animals in research, teaching, or testing. Decisions associated with the need to use animals are not within the purview of the Guide, but responsibility for animal well-being begins for the investigator with that decision. Additional responsibilities of the investigator, and other personnel, are elaborated in Chapter 1.

The goal of this Guide is to promote the humane care of animals used in biomedical and behavioral research, teaching, and testing; the basic objective is to provide information that will enhance animal well-being, the quality of biomedical research, and the advancement of biologic knowledge that is relevant to humans or animals. The use of animals as experimental subjects in the 20th century has contributed to many important advances in scientific and medical knowledge (Leader and Stark 1987). Although scientists have also developed nonanimal models for research, teaching, and testing (NRC 1977; see Appendix A, "Alternatives"), these models often cannot completely mimic the complex human or animal body, and continued progress in human and animal health and well-being requires the use of living animals. Nevertheless, efforts to develop and use scientifically valid alternatives, adjuncts, and refinements to animal research should continue.

In this Guide, laboratory animals include any vertebrate animal (e.g., traditional laboratory animals, farm animals, wildlife, and aquatic animals) used in research, teaching, or testing. When appropriate, exceptions or specific emphases

Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 1996. Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5140.
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for farm animals are provided. The Guide does not specifically address farm animals used in agricultural research or teaching, wildlife and aquatic animals studied in natural settings, or invertebrate animals used in research; however, many of the general principles in this Guide apply to these species and situations.

REGULATIONS, POLICIES, AND PRINCIPLES

This Guide endorses the responsibilities of investigators as stated in the U.S. Government Principles for Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals Used in Testing, Research, and Training (IRAC 1985; see Appendix D). Interpretation and application of those principles and this Guide require professional knowledge. In summary, the principles encourage

  • Design and performance of procedures on the basis of relevance to human or animal health, advancement of knowledge, or the good of society.

  • Use of appropriate species, quality, and number of animals.

  • Avoidance or minimization of discomfort, distress, and pain in concert with sound science.

  • Use of appropriate sedation, analgesia, or anesthesia.

  • Establishment of experimental end points.

  • Provision of appropriate animal husbandry directed and performed by qualified persons.

  • Conduct of experimentation on living animals only by or under the close supervision of qualified and experienced persons.

In general, the principles stipulate responsibilities of investigators, whose activities regarding use of animals are subject to oversight by an institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC).

Animal facilities and programs should be operated in accord with this Guide, the Animal Welfare Regulations, or AWRs (CFR 1985); the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, or PHS Policy (PHS 1996); and other applicable federal (Appendixes C and D) state, and local laws, regulations, and policies.1 Supplemental information on breeding, care, management, and use of selected laboratory animal species is available in other publications prepared by the Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources (ILAR) and other organizations (Appendix A). References in this Guide provide the

1  

Users are reminded that the Guide is written for a diverse group of national and international institutions and organizations. many of which are covered by neither the AWRs nor the PHS Policy. On a few matters, the Guide differs from the AWRs and the PHS Policy: users regulated by the AWRs or the PHS Policy must comply with them.

Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 1996. Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5140.
×

reader with additional information that supports statements made in the Guide or presents divergent opinions.

EVALUATION CRITERIA

The Guide charges users of research animals with the responsibility of achieving specified outcomes but leaves it up to them how to accomplish these goals. This ''performance" approach is desirable because many variables (such as the species and previous history of the animals, facilities, expertise of the people, and research goals) often make prescriptive ("engineering") approaches impractical and unwarranted. Engineering standards are sometimes useful to establish a baseline, but they do not specify the goal or outcome (such as well-being, sanitation, or personnel safety) in terms of measurable criteria as do performance standards.

The engineering approach does not provide for interpretation or modification in the event that acceptable alternative methods are available or unusual circumstances arise. Performance standards define an outcome in detail and provide criteria for assessing that outcome, but do not limit the methods by which to achieve that outcome. This performance approach requires professional input and judgment to achieve outcome goals. Optimally, engineering and performance standards are balanced, thereby providing standards while allowing flexibility and judgment based on individual situations. Scientists, veterinarians, technicians, and others have extensive experience and information covering many of the topics discussed in this Guide. Research on laboratory animal management continues to generate scientific information that should be used in evaluating performance and engineering standards. For some issues, insufficient information is available, and continued research into improved methods of animal care and use is needed.

The Guide is deliberately written in general terms so that its recommendations can be applied in the diverse institutions and settings that produce or use animals for research, teaching, and testing; generalizations and broad recommendations are imperative in such a document. This approach requires that users, IACUCs, veterinarians, and producers use professional judgment in making specific decisions regarding animal care and use. Because this Guide is written in general terms, IACUCs have a key role in interpretation, oversight, and evaluation of institutional animal care and use programs. The question frequently arises as to how the words must and should are used in the Guide and how IACUCs should interpret their relative priority. In general, the verb must is used for broad programmatic or basic aspects that the Committee to Revise the Guide considers are imperative. The verb should is used as a strong recommendation for achieving a goal. However, the committee recognizes that individual circumstances might justify an alternative strategy.

Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 1996. Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5140.
×

FARM ANIMALS

Uses of farm animals in research, teaching, and testing are often separated into biomedical uses and agricultural uses because of government regulations (AWRs), institutional policies, administrative structure, funding sources, or user goals. That separation has led to a dual system with different criteria for evaluating protocols and standards of housing and care for animals of the same species on the basis of perceived biomedical or agricultural research objectives (Stricklin and Mench 1994). For some studies, this separation is clear. For example, animal models of human diseases, organ transplantation, and major surgery are considered biomedical uses; and studies on food and fiber production, such as feeding trials, are usually considered agricultural uses. However, the separation often is not clear, as in the case of some nutrition and disease studies. Administrators, regulators, and IACUCs often face a dilemma in deciding how to handle such studies (Stricklin and others 1990).

The use of farm animals in research should be subject to the same ethical considerations as the use of other animals in research, regardless of an investigator's research objectives or funding source (Stricklin and others 1990). However, differences in research goals lead to fundamental differences between biomedical and agricultural research. Agricultural research often necessitates that animals be managed according to contemporary farm-production practices for research goals to be reached (Stricklin and Mench 1994). For example, natural environmental conditions might be desirable for agricultural research, whereas control of environmental conditions to minimize variation might be desirable in biomedical research (Tillman 1994).

Housing systems for farm animals used in biomedical research might or might not differ from those in agricultural research. Animals used in either biomedical or agricultural research can be housed in cages or stalls or in paddocks or pastures (Tillman 1994). Some agricultural studies need uniform conditions to minimize environmental variability, and some biomedical studies are conducted in farm settings. Thus, the protocol, rather than the category of research, should determine the setting (farm or laboratory). Decisions on categorizing research uses of farm animals and defining standards for their care and use should be based on user goals, protocols, and concern for animal well-being and should be made by the IACUC. Regardless of the category of research, institutions are expected to provide oversight of all research animals and ensure that their pain and distress is minimized.

This Guide applies to farm animals used in biomedical research, including those maintained in typical farm settings. For such animals in a farm setting, the Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Agricultural Research and Teaching (1988), or revisions thereof, is a useful resource. Additional information regarding facilities and management of farm animals in an agricultural setting can be obtained from the Midwest Plan Service's Structures and Environ-

Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 1996. Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5140.
×

ment Handbook (1987) and from agricultural engineers or animal-science experts at state agricultural extension services and land-grant colleges and universities.

NONTRADITIONAL SPECIES

A species not commonly used in biomedical research is sometimes the animal model of choice because of its unique characteristics. For example, hibernation can be studied only in species that hibernate. An appropriate environment should be provided for nontraditional species, and for some species it might be necessary to approximate the natural habitat. Expert advice on the natural history and behavior of nontraditional species should be sought when such animals are to be introduced into a research environment. Because of the large number of nontraditional species and their varied requirements, this Guide cannot provide husbandry details appropriate to all such species. However, several scientific organizations have developed guides for particular species of nontraditional animals (e.g., ILAR and the Scientists Center for Animal Welfare, SCAW). A partial list of sources is available in Appendix A.

FIELD INVESTIGATIONS

Biomedical and behavioral investigations occasionally involve observation or use of vertebrate animals under field conditions. Although some of the recommendations listed in this volume are not applicable to field conditions, the basic principles of humane care and use apply to the use of animals living in natural conditions.

Investigators conducting field studies with animals should assure their IACUC that collection of specimens or invasive procedures will comply with state and federal regulations and this Guide. Zoonoses and occupational health and safety issues should be reviewed by the IACUC to ensure that field studies do not compromise the health and safety of other animals or persons working in the field. Guidelines for using animals in field studies prepared by professional societies are useful when they adhere to the humane principles of the U.S. Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals Used in Testing, Research, and Training (Appendix D) and this Guide (see Appendix A, "Exotic; Wild, and Zoo Animals" and "Other Animals").

OVERVIEW

In an attempt to facilitate its usefulness and ease in locating specific topics, the organization of this edition of the Guide is slightly different from that of the preceding edition. Material from the preceding edition's Chapter 5, "Special Considerations," has been incorporated into Chapters 1-4. Genetics and nomenclature are now discussed in Chapter 2; facilities and procedures for animal

Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 1996. Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5140.
×

research with hazardous agents and occupational health and safety are considered in Chapter 1. Recommendations for farm animals are incorporated throughout the text where appropriate.

This edition of the Guide is divided into four chapters and four appendixes. Chapter 1 focuses on institutional policies and responsibilities, including the monitoring of the care and use of animals, considerations for evaluation of some specific research procedures, veterinary care, personnel qualifications and training, and occupational health and safety; the latter section summarizes another National Research Council committee report (NRC In press) and includes information about facilities and procedures for animal research with hazardous agents. Chapter 2 focuses on the animals themselves and provides recommendations for housing and environment, behavioral management, husbandry, and population management, including discussions of identification, records ,genetics, and nomenclature. Chapter 3 discusses veterinary medical care and responsibilities of the attending veterinarian; it includes recommendations relative to animal procurement and transportation, preventive medicine, surgery, pain and analgesia, and euthanasia. Chapter 4 discusses the physical plant, including functional areas and construction guidelines, with expanded discussions of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems and facilities for aseptic surgery.

The appendixes in this edition remain largely the same as in the preceding edition. Appendix A contains an updated bibliography, categorized by topic; Appendix B lists selected organizations related to laboratory animal science; Appendix C presents federal laws relevant to animal care and use; and Appendix D provides the PHS endorsement of the U.S. Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals Used in Testing, Research, and Training (IRAC 1985).

REFERENCES

CFR (Code of Federal Regulations). 1985. Title 9 (Animals and Animal Products), Subchapter A (Animal Welfare). Washington, D.C.: Office of the Federal Register.

Consortium for Developing a Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Agricultural Research and Teaching. 1988. Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Agricultural Research and Teaching. Champaign. Ill.: Consortium for Developing a Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Agricultural Research and Teaching.


IRAC (Interagency Research Animal Committee). 1985. U.S. Government Principles for Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals Used in Testing, Research, and Training. Federal Register, May 20.1985. Washington, D.C.: Office of Science and Technology Policy.


Leader, R. W.. and D. Stark. 1987. The importance of animals in biomedical research. Perspect. Biol. Med. 30(4):470-485.


Midwest Plan Service. 1987. Structures and Environment Handbook. 11th ed. rev. Ames: Midwest Plan Service. Iowa State University.


NRC (National Research Council). 1977. The Future of Animals, Cells, Models. and Systems in Research. Development. Education. and Testing. Proceedings of a Symposium of the Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources. Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences. 341 pp.

Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 1996. Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5140.
×

NRC (National Research Council). In press. Occupational Health and Safety in the Care and Use of Research Animals. A report of the Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources Committee on Occupational Safety and Health in Research Animal Facilities. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

PHS (Public Health Service). 1996. Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 28 pp. [PL 99-158. Health Research Extension Act. 1985]


Stricklin, W. R., and J. A. Mench. 1994. Oversight of the use of agricultural animals in university teaching and research. ILAR News 36(1):9-14.

Stricklin, W. R.. D. Purcell, and J. A. Mench. 1990. Farm animals in agricultural and biomedical research in the well-being of agricultural animals in biomedical and agricultural research. Pp. 1-4 in Agricultural Animals in Research, Proceedings from a SCAW-sponsored conference. September 6-7, 1990. Washington, D.C.: Scientist's Center for Animal Welfare.


Tillman, P. 1994. Integrating agricultural and biomedical research policies: Conflicts and opportunities. ILAR News 36(2):29-35.

Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 1996. Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5140.
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Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 1996. Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5140.
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Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 1996. Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5140.
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Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 1996. Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5140.
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Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 1996. Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5140.
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Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 1996. Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5140.
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Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 1996. Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5140.
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A respected resource for decades, the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals has been revised by a committee of experts, based on input from scientists and the public. The Guide incorporates recent research on commonly used species, including farm animals, and includes extensive references. It is organized around major components of animal use:

  • Institutional policies and responsibilities. The committee discusses areas that require policy attention: the role and function of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, protocols for animal care and use, occupational health and safety, personnel qualifications, and other areas.
  • Animal environment, husbandry, and management. The committee offers guidelines on how to design and run a management program, addressing environment, nutrition, sanitation, behavioral and social issues, genetics, nomenclature, and more.
  • Veterinary care. The committee discusses animal procurement and transportation, disease and preventive medicine, and surgery. The Guide addresses pain recognition and relief and issues surrounding euthanasia.
  • Physical plant. The committee identifies design and construction issues, providing guidelines for animal-room doors, drainage, noise control, surgery, and other areas. The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals provides a framework for the judgments required in the management of animal facilities--a resource of proven value, now updated and expanded. This revision will be important to researchers, animal care technicians, facilities managers, administrators at research institutions, policymakers involved in research issues, and animal welfare advocates.
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