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New animal welfare rules.

New animal welfare rules

To prevent the type of animal care deficiencies that led to the recent shutdown of a University of Pennsylvania head injury study (SN: 10/12/85, p. 230), the Public Health Service (PHS) is instituting a revised animal welfare accreditation policy. By Dec. 31, all researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or any other PHS agency must either establish that their animal programs have been formally approved by the American Association for Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) or submit a detailed report of their animal research programs. That report must include the numbers and species of vertebrates involved, how they're fed and housed, how many facilities are involved, the role of veterinarians and the makeup of the committee that reviews the animal research studies.

"In the past we gave an institution [seeking PHS funds for animal studies] three options,' says William Dommel, assistant director of NIH's Office of Protection From Research Risks, which manages animal care oversight for PHS. He says, "They could be accredited by AAALAC, describe themselves as accreditable by AAALAC or say that they're moving toward this goal.' And except when an institution came under scrutiny for some complaint, Dommel says, "all plans were accepted.'

Now any program lacking formal AAALAC accreditation will be carefully examined to see whether it complies with revised NIH guidelines, published in June. Those that don't, or whose timetable for complying isn't acceptable, will either have to undergo changes or lose PHS funds, Dommel says.

His office expects to be swamped by the estimated 800 submissions due to arrive by year-end, he says, because many grantees --like the University of Pennsylvania--will lack bona fide AAALAC accreditation.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Nov 2, 1985
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