Animal Studies are Safer than You Think

Over the years, there has been much controversy surrounding animal studies. However, critics should be aware that there are specific regulations set up in this area of scientific trials that ensures the welfare and care of animals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for instance, reports that all studies involving animals must adhere to the Animal Welfare Act, which was promoted by the United States Department of Agriculture, along with the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals policy.

Additionally, every single animal study must be approved according to the standards of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), which ensures the research complies with animal welfare regulations.

In 1966, the Animal Welfare Act became law and is the sole federal law that regulates the treatment of mammals in transport by dealers, scientific research, and exhibition, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Essentially, the law requires humane care and treatment of all animals used in commerce, during transportation, or in experimental research. This also covers the humane handling, housing, sale, and purchase of animals.

The Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals is especially important for adhering to in preclinical studies. Proper care in biomedical and behavioral trials is expected as well as the suitable use of anesthetics, tranquilizers, and euthanasia in animal research. Veterinary and nursing care is required for animals in presurgical and postsurgical research.

Animal care committees also play a large role in ensuring that researchers working in the biomedical and behavioral sciences adhere to the guidelines established in these policies. Each committee is actually required to have at least one doctor of veterinary medicine.

Every committee is required to review the care and treatment of laboratory animals every six months to see if researchers are remaining compliant. Every animal technician, scientist, or personnel involved must be trained or instructed on the humane management of animal maintenance and experimentation so that any distress experienced by said animals is minimal.

If the Director of the National Institutes of Health determines that an entity that obtained a grant does not meet the applicable guidelines for appropriate animal care and treatment, the entity must be notified and be given a chance to correct such issues. If no change has occurred and no action taken to correct the mistake(s), the Director of NIH will be forced to revoke the grant and put a stop to improper experimentation.

One interesting guideline that emphasizes the importance of animal model studies states that such studies should be created and conducted with consideration of “human or animal health, the advancement of knowledge, or the good of society.”

Animal studies clearly benefit society as a whole through the development of cancer and diabetes treatments along with the pursuit of knowledge in the causes of inflammatory bowel diseases, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.

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Categories: Toxicology and Pharmacology

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