Preparation of animals for use in the laboratory: issues and challenges for the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).
Preparation of animals is important for optimization of animal welfare as well as to minimize interanimal variation, thereby strengthening the quality of data for in vivo studies. These issues are important in the work of institutional animal care and use committees (IACUCs), but they pose many challenges as well. This article provides IACUC members with a resource for use in determining whether and how preparation of animals for research affects the IACUC's responsibilities. The topics addressed are intended to serve as a starting point for consideration and discussion. Questions related to subject selection and acclimation of subjects to experimental housing and procedures are emphasized and should provide IACUC members with a framework for discussion of relevant questions. Guidelines are provided for promoting the acclimation of a number of species to experimental settings. Additional, potentially controversial points are also raised, including the effects on longitudinal data sets of changing subject preparation procedures. The roles of the IACUC in the research endeavor are multifaceted and continuously evolving. As empirical data are produced that affect additional aspects of animal care and use, it is important for these committees to be able to evaluate and, when appropriate, stimulate the implementation of improved procedures and strategies.
Schapiro, SA; Everitt, JI
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