Created by on 7/12/2011 12:00:00 AM

On July 7th, FASEB submitted comments on the 2011 International Guiding Principles for Biomedical Research Involving Animals, which are intended to be used by the international scientific community to guide the responsible use of vertebrate animals in scientific and/or educational activities. The International Council on Laboratory Animal Science and the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences co-drafted the principles to assist ethics committees, animal care committees, organizations, and countries in developing programs for the humane care and use of animals in research and education, especially those entities operating without federal or national regulations. This latest revision is intended to be an update to the 1985 guidance document.

In the letter, FASEB endorsed the authors’ usage of the word “should” instead of “must” throughout the principles, stating that, “Flexibility is important for providing optimal care to laboratory animals and ensuring the integrity of scientific research, since it allows researchers, veterinarians, and animal care staff to take into consideration information on the species, local environment, individual animal, and research goals that may impact animal care and use.” The federation also praised the authors for limiting the principles to vertebrate animals as consensus has not been reached regarding standards of care for invertebrate species. 

FASEB made one recommendation to soften the wording in principle number ten, which states that the oversight framework should promote a “risk-benefit analysis on benefits derived from the research and/or educational activity with the potential for pain and/or distress experienced by the animal.” While the Federation agreed that risks to animals associated with a particular line of research should be reasonable in relation to the anticipated benefits, FASEB suggested that the statement be changed so that the oversight framework should, “consider the goals of the research and/or education activity against potential animal welfare concerns, including pain and/or distress.”