Current Topics in Animal Research
The APS Office of Science Policy monitors a number of animal researchrelated issues. Keep an eye on the links below and to the left for updates on the topics of concern to you.

USDA to Offer Incentive for Self-Reporting Noncompliance

USDA is offering an incentive for facilities to proactively identify, report, and correct animal welfare issues. At the same time, USDA underscored that such self-reporting is voluntary.

Opposition to VA Research Restrictions Continues to Grow

On July 26, the House of Representatives approved a measure that would halt VA research with dogs even when the animals receive the same kind of anesthesia, analgesia, and post-operative care provided to pets and human patients undergoing surgery.

FACT Act Won’t Measure Progress on Alternatives

The Federal Accountability in Chemical Testing Act aims to encourage non-animal methods of testing and research; however, the purposed mechanism will not effectively result in improved animal welfare but will create an added burden to researchers.

Max Planck Society Issues White Paper on Animal Research

On January 12, 2017, the Max Planck Society (MPS) in Germany published a white paper on the use of animals in basic research. MPS is a non-profit research organization made up of 83 Max Planck Institutes and facilities.

FASEB Launches Model Organism Database

The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) has created an online tool to help researchers find suppliers of organisms ranging from algae to mice, fruit flies, and maize.

USDA Inspections Find High Level of AWA Compliance

A summary of the Animal Welfare Act inspections overview presented by USDA APHIS Assistant Director for Animal Welfare Operations at the national meeting of American Association for Laboratory Animal Science.

Spotlight on Nonhuman Primate Research

September 7, 2016, NIH held a workshop on “Ensuring the Continued Responsible Oversight of Research with Non-Human Primates.”

OLAW Webinar: Implementing Guidance on Significant Changes: One Institution’s Experience

On September 8, 2016, the NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) held a webinar to share one institution’s experience with incorporating OLAW’s guidance on implementing significant changes to animal activities (See NOT-OD-14-126). The webinar recording, slides, and supporting materials can be viewed on NIH’s website.

UPDATE: Antibody producer settles USDA case, relinquishes AWA credentials

On May 19, 2016, antibody producer Santa Cruz Biotechnology (SCBT), Inc. reached an agreement with the USDA to resolve allegations of numerous Animal Welfare Act (AWA) violations.

USDA Introduces “Teachable Moments” to the Animal Welfare Inspection Guide

On January 14, 2016, USDA Animal Care (AC) announced several updates to the Animal Welfare Inspection Guide. Of particular interest is a new option permitting USDA inspectors to address certain noncompliant items through “teachable moments” rather than citations.

NIH to End All Chimpanzee Research

November 18, 2015—NIH Director Francis Collins announced a plan to retire all NIH-owned chimpanzees.

WHO Says Ketamine Should Not Be Placed Under International Control

On December 8, 2015, an expert panel recommended that the World Health Organization (WHO) not place international drug controls on ketamine.

NIH to End Research Targeted by PETA

The National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at NIH announced in December that a well-regarded researcher’s work on the effects of maternal deprivation in infant monkeys would be phased out over the next 3 years.

APS Urges US to Oppose International Restrictions on Ketamine

On October 14, 2015, the APS submitted comments providing the FDA with information about the importance of ketamine in clinical and research settings.

Fish & Wildlife Service Designate Captive Chimpanzees as Endangered

On June 16, 2015, the Fish and Wildlife Service (F&WS) published a final rule in the Federal Register designating captive chimpanzees as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act.

APS Advises APHIS on Alternatives Search Requirements

On March 30, 2015, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS) asked for public comments on a petition asking the agency to issue new regulations on the consideration of alternatives to procedures that may cause pain or distress to laboratory animals.

OLAW and USDA Clarify Policies on Sharing Animal Welfare Concerns

OLAW and USDA issued statements to explain what types of incidents OLAW shares with USDA and which ones may result in a USDA citation and when complaints from a third party may be investigated.

Air Transport of Research Animals

A collection of resources to support research animal transportation.

APS Updates Guiding Principles

On October 15, 2014 the Council approved an update to the APS Guiding Principles for the Care and Use of Vertebrate Animals in Research and Training.

OLAW’s New Guidance Will Streamline “Significant Changes”

Recent guidance issued by the NIH’s Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) provides Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUCs) simplified options to incorporate some IACUC-approved changes into active animal protocols.

APS Urges OLAW to Revise “Significant Changes” Guidance

On March 11, 2014, OLAW published a request for comments on proposed guidance about what constitute “significant” changes to ongoing animal research activities. APS urged that a proposed revision to the guidance be revised to avoid “increas[ing] administrative burden rather than reduc[ing] it.”

APS Asks Wildlife Service to Continue Chimpanzee Research

Biomedical research with captive chimpanzees should be allowed to continue, the American Physiological Society said in comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This was the central tenet of the APS response to a proposal that would classify captive chimpanzees as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

Italian Scientists Urge Research Restrictions Be Rejected

A group of Italian scientists is seeking to draw attention to recently-approved legislation that could severely restrict animal research in that country.

ILAR Celebrates 60 Years with Symposium on Animals in Research

The Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR) will hold a symposium to celebrate its 60th anniversary. The event is free and will take place September 11, 2013 from 1pm–5pm in the Lecture Room at the National Academy of Sciences, 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW in Washington, DC.

DOD Report: Animals Still Needed for Trauma Training

Alternative training methods cannot yet replace the use of live animals in the training of combat medics, the Department of Defense (DOD) told Congress. The finding was part of a report mandated under the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.

Public Outreach—A Toolkit for Investigators

A text summary and online versions of the presentations given at the EB2012 Public Outreach symposium. The symposium featured insights into public outreach from a researcher, a laboratory animal veterinarian, and a media relations expert, each one experienced in standing up to animal rights tactics.

APS Incorporates ILAR, NC3Rs Guidance on Animal Studies in Instructions for Authors

The APS Publications Committee has updated requirements for reporting studies involving animals in light of two recent reports.

Research Chimpanzee Colony is Valuable Resource

Chimpanzees in biomedical research colonies are “responsibly managed, well-regulated, and offer a resource of international value that benefits the health of humans and supports wild ape conservation efforts,” the APS told the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).

APS Comments on Research Animal Transportation

On October 26, APS President Sue Barman sent letters thanking the CEOs of UPS and FedEx for their companies’ continued shipments of research animals. Recent campaigns by animal rights groups have sought to pressure various carriers to curtail the shipment of various species. In her letters, Dr. Barman points out the many layers of protection in place to ensure the humane treatment of research animals. She also underscores the fact that biomedical research involving animals is intended to relieve suffering by finding cures for disease.

EB Symposium: Avoiding Common Pitfalls in Preclinical Animal Research Design

The 2018 ACE Committee symposium on designing animal research studies so they are reproducible and relevant to human medicine.

Implementation Plans for the new Guide

NIH and AAALAC, Intl. both use the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals as a standard for animal care and use programs, but each has different plans for implementing the new 8th edition.

Reforming Animal Research Regulations: Workshop Recommendations to Reduce Regulatory Burden

A new report from FASEB on streamlining animal research regulations

APS Comments on the Pet Safety and Protection Act of 2011

The APS sent a letter to cosponsors of the Pet Safety and Protection Act of 2011 (HR 2256) asking them to allow the NIH program to replace Class B dealers to come to fruition instead of implementing an immediate ban. (PDF)

NIH Submits Plan to Replace Class B Dogs

NIH submitted a plan to the Senate Appropriations Committee to phase out the use by extramural researchers of dogs and cats purchased from Class B dealers by 2015.

APS Comments on New Guide

APS submitted comments May 17 on NIH’s plans to adopt the 8th edition of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. While supporting most of the Guide’s updates, APS expressed concerned that NIH’s enforcement strategies undermine the use of the Guide as performance standards. (PDF)

EU to Implement New Animal Welfare Rules in 2013

On September 22, 2010, the European Union (EU) adopted a new set of requirements for the protection of animals in scientific procedures including those for research, education, and training. It will go into effect on January 1, 2013.

Highlights of EU Directive 2010/63

An article by article summary of EU Directive 2010/63 on animal welfare.

APS Announces New Position Statements on Animals in Research

APS has posted two new position statements on animals in research: “Animal Research is Essential to the Search for Cures” and an updated “Guiding Principles for the Care and Use of Vertebrate Animals in Research and Training.”

ILAR Releases Guide Update

On June 2, 2010, the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR) of the National Academy of Sciences released the pre-publication version of the 8th edition of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

USDA Announces Enhanced Animal Welfare Act Enforcement

On May 20, 2010, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan announced that USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is stepping up its Animal Welfare Act (AWA) enforcement efforts.

European Union Animal Welfare Directive 2010/63

A PDF of the full directive.

Background on EU Directive

More information about the adoption of the new EU directive from Understanding Animal Research.

Book Review of An Odyssey with Animals

Whether you are a researcher or a lay person, pro-research or pro-animal rights—or anywhere in between—Adrian Morrison’s An Odyssey with Animals: A Veterinarian’s Reflections on the Animal Rights & Welfare Debate (2009) will give you much to pause and consider.

ILAR Issues Updated Distress Report

The Institute for Laboratory Animal Research has completed an update to its 1992 report Recognition and Alleviation of Pain and Distress in Laboratory Animals. The pre-publication version was released in late 2007, and the final version of the report came out in early 2008. According to the executive summary, the updated report “focuses specifically on the scientific understanding of the causes and the functions of stress and distress, the transformation of stress to distress, and the identification of principles for the recognition and alleviation of distress.”

NIH Guidance on the Transition from USDA Class B Dogs

To facilitate the transition from USDA Class B, NIH is implementing an acquisition plan to develop a USDA Class A vendor to breed dogs possessing the same characteristics as those previously acquired from USDA Class B dealers, namely large, mature, socialized out-bred hounds or mongrels.

APS Critiques Animal Rights Report, Congressional Requests for Information

APS President Jane F. Reckelhoff challenged recent Congressional requests for an investigation of animal research at federal agencies in a letter to the head of the Government Accountability Office.