Washington Update

NASEM Workshop Discusses Future Updates to the Guide

By: Naomi Charalambakis
Wednesday, May 8, 2024
On April 23-24, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Board on Animal Health Science, Conservation, and Research hosted a virtual workshop to exchange information and explore strategies for updating the Guide for the Care and Use of Animals (Guide). As an internationally accepted reference for the scientific community, the Guide assists institutions in developing and maintaining their animal care and use programs by including evidence-based recommendations, methods, and best practices. Given that the current edition of the Guide has not been updated since 2011, NASEM has initiated a multi-phase review process to determine key subject matter changes that may be necessary.

The workshop addressed various topics important to the animal research community and their use of the Guide. For example, one session focused on the challenges of using the Guide for regulatory purposes. As many researchers consider the Guide to be a “de facto” regulatory instrument, workshop participants emphasized that the language of the Guide should either be harmonized with existing statutes and regulations or its purpose should be clarified. This will help minimize confusion and prevent potential noncompliance by federal agencies. Another session focused on the format of the Guide and whether the next edition should become a living document to ensure standards and recommendations are updated as new data become available. While stakeholders appreciate this innovative and forward-looking approach, many are concerned that an ever-changing document could complicate implementation and research processes.

As the next phase of the review process, NASEM plans to establish a separate consensus committee to provide recommendations on necessary revisions. This committee will begin deliberations this summer. Additionally, NASEM is continuously accepting public feedback for potential Guide changes, with the aim of issuing an updated final product by the end of 2026.