laboratory animals

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Attitudes Toward the Use of Animals in Chronic versus Acute Pain Research: Results of a Web-based Forum

Elisabeth H. Ormandy and Gilly Griffin

When asked about the use of animals in biomedical research, people often state that the research is only acceptable if pain and distress are minimised. However, pain is caused when the aim is to study pain itself, resulting in unalleviated pain for many of the animals involved. Consequently, the use of animals in pain research is often considered contentious. To date, no research has explored people's views toward different types of animal-based pain research (e.g. chronic or acute pain). This study used a web-based survey to explore people's willingness to support the use of mice in chronic versus acute pain research. The majority of the participants opposed the use of mice for either chronic (68.3%) or acute (63.1%) pain research. There was no difference in the levels of support or opposition for chronic versus acute pain research. Unsupportive participants justified their opposition by focusing on the perceived lack of scientific merit, or the existence of non-animal alternatives. Supporters emphasised the potential benefits that could arise, with some stating that the benefits outweigh the costs. The majority of the participants were opposed to pain research involving mice, regardless of the nature and duration of the pain inflicted, or the perceived benefit of the research. A better understanding of public views toward animal use in pain research may provide a stronger foundation for the development of policy governing the use of animals in research where animals are likely to experience unalleviated pain.

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Comparative Costs of the Mouse Inoculation Test (MIT) and Virus Isolation in Cell Culture (VICC) for Use in Rabies Diagnosis in Brazil

Vanessa C. Bones, Augusto H. Gameiro, Juliana G. Castilho and Carla F.M. Molento

The decision to use laboratory animals rather than in vitro methods is frequently based on the financial costs involved, so the objective of our study was to compare the costs of performing the Mouse Inoculation Test (MIT) and Virus Isolation in Cell Culture (VICC) for use in rabies diagnosis in Brazil. Based on observations of laboratory routines at the Pasteur Institute, São Paulo, we listed the fixed cost (FC) and variable cost (VC) items necessary to perform both tests. Considering that 200 MITs are equivalent to 350 VICC assays, in terms of facilities and staff-hours needed per month, we calculated, for both tests, the average total cost per sample, the costs of the implementation of the laboratory structure, and the costs of routine use. With regard to absolute values, the total cost was mainly influenced by FC items, as they represented 60% of the cost for the MIT and 86% of the cost for VICC. A sample analysed by the MIT costs around 205% more than one analysed by using VICC. The MIT costs 74% and 406% more than VICC, when implementation costs and routine use per month, respectively, are taken into account. Our results can assist in the resolution of costing disputes that could hinder the replacement of animals for rabies diagnosis in Brazil. The method demonstrated here might also be useful for cost comparisons in other situations where animal use still continues when validated alternatives exist.
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Better Science with Human Cell-based Organ and Tissue Models

Tuula Heinonen

At present, animal-based models are the major test systems for assessing the tolerability and safety of chemical substances for regulatory purposes, and also for pivotal efficacy testing in pharmaceutical development. In spite of the high genetic similarity between many laboratory animals and humans, animal models are very poor predictors of human health effects and pathophysiological processes. Thus, models and testing strategies that are more relevant to human biology, are needed for these purposes. The best predictability is achieved with human organotypic models that mimic the microenvironment of human tissues. During their development, such models have to be characterised at the structural, genetic and functional levels, and compared to the respective human tissues. Their predictivity should be confirmed by using known reference chemicals with corresponding human data. The use of these methods in safety assessment and biomedical research, combined with the knowledge gained of the underlying biological processes on gene and protein expression, as well as on cellular signalling, will ultimately lead to better human science and animal welfare.
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A ‘Road Map’ Toward Ending Severe Suffering of Animals Used in Research and Testing

Elliot Lilley, Penny Hawkins and Maggy Jennings

Ending severe suffering is a desirable goal for both ethical and scientific reasons. The RSPCA has pledged to work toward the end of such suffering for laboratory animals, and in this article we outline a practical approach that establishments can follow to achieve this aim.
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Perceived Barriers to the Adoption of Alternatives to Laboratory Animal Use for Rabies Diagnosis

Vanessa C. Bones, Heloísa C. Clemente, Daniel M. Weary and Carla F.M. Molento

The use of laboratory animals is still common practice, but some uses can be replaced by alternative methods, such as Virus Isolation in Cell Culture (VICC) instead of the Mouse Inoculation Test (MIT) for rabies diagnosis. The objective of this work was to describe current rabies diagnosis methods in Brazil and other countries, and the constraints associated with replacing this use of mice with alternative methods. Nine out of 12 Brazilian and 14 out of 43 non-Brazilian respondents reported that they currently used the MIT. Respondents in countries other than Brazil, male respondents, and those already employing in vitro methods for rabies diagnosis, expressed higher levels of support for the use of alternatives. The most frequently reported constraints associated with the use of alternatives were lack of laboratory facilities, equipment and materials (cited 17 times by respondents), and lack of financial resources (cited 15 times). The results indicate that many laboratories continue to use mice for rabies diagnosis. The proportion of laboratories that use mice appears to be especially high in Brazil, despite animal protection laws and technical guidelines that favour the use of alternatives. The barriers to the adoption of alternative methods identified in the current study provide a basis for facilitating changes in Brazil and elsewhere.

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The Fourth EC Report on the Statistics of Laboratory Animal Use: Trends, Recommendations and Future Prospects

Christina Grindon and Nirmala Bhogal

At the beginning of 2005, the European Commission published its fourth report on the statistics of the number of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes. A total of 10.7 million animals were used within the Member States of the European Union (EU) in 2002, an increase of almost a million animals since the 1999 report. France, Germany and the UK continue to be the largest users of animals for scientific purposes, and mice, rats, fish and birds remain the most commonly-used animals. For the first time, all 15 Member States used the standardised “EU tables”, as had been agreed in 1998. This has made it easier to identify areas on which Three Rs initiatives should be focused. Nevertheless, the reporting system still has a number of serious deficiencies. In particular, there are insufficient data on the numbers of animals that are kept or bred for research purposes, the numbers of transgenic animals, and the severity of procedures that are applied.
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The Interpretation and Application of the Three Rs by Animal Ethics Committee Members

Catherine A. Schuppli and David Fraser

The Three Rs form the basis of review of animal-use protocols by Animal Ethics Committees (AECs), but little research has examined how AECs actually interpret and implement the Three Rs. This topic was explored through in-depth, open-ended interviews with 28 members of AECs at four Canadian universities. In describing protocol review, AEC members rarely mentioned the Three Rs, but most reported applying some aspects of the basic concepts. Comments identified several factors that could impede full application of the Three Rs: incomplete understanding of the Three Rs (especially Refinement), trust that researchers implement Replacement and Reduction themselves, belief by some members that granting agency review covers the Three Rs, focus on sample size rather than experimental design to achieve Reduction, focus on harm caused by procedures to the exclusion of housing and husbandry, and lack of consensus on key issues, notably on the nature and moral significance of animal pain and suffering, and on whether AECs should minimise overall harm to animals. The study suggests ways to achieve more consistent application of the Three Rs, by providing AECs with up-to-date information on the Three Rs and with access to statistical expertise, by consensus-building on divisive issues, and by training on the scope and implementation of the Three Rs.
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Attitudes in China Toward the Use of Animals in Laboratory Research

Gareth Davey and Zhihui Wu

Public support is a strong impetus for the adoption of alternatives to laboratory animals. It is therefore important to find out what a society thinks about ethical animal use. In the case of China, a useful line of enquiry was to survey Chinese people’s views, as their country is renowned for the deplorable conditions under which animals are kept. This report concerns an investigation into the attitudes of Chinese university students toward the use of animals in laboratory research. The survey revealed a moderate concern amongst students; for example, they agreed that the use of animals for testing cosmetics and household products is unnecessary and should be stopped, and disagreed that humans have the right to use animals as they see fit. This finding is very encouraging. Further research is needed, in order to understand Chinese views about the justification of using animals in research.
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2017-01-09T06:37:16+00:00 Tags: , , , |

Estimates for Worldwide Laboratory Animal Use in 2005

Katy Taylor, Nicky Gordon, Gill Langley and Wendy Higgins

Animal experimentation continues to generate public and political concern worldwide. Relatively few countries collate and publish animal use statistics, yet this is a first and essential step toward public accountability and an informed debate, as well as being important for effective policy-making and regulation. The implementation of the Three Rs (replacement, reduction and refinement of animal experiments) should be expected to result in a decline in animal use, but without regular, accurate statistics, this cannot be monitored. Recent estimates of worldwide annual laboratory animal use are imprecise and
unsubstantiated, ranging from 28–100 million. We collated data for 37 countries that publish national statistics, and standardised these against the definitions of ‘animals’, ‘purposes’ and ‘experiments’ used in European Union Directive 86/609/EEC. We developed and applied a statistical model, based on publication rates, for a further 142 countries. This yielded our most conservative estimate of global animal use: 58.3 million animals in 179 countries. However, this figure excludes several uses and forms of animals that are included in the statistics of some countries. With the data available, albeit for only a few countries, we also produced, by extrapolation, a more comprehensive global estimate that includes animals killed for the provision of tissues, animals used to maintain genetically-modified strains, and animals bred for laboratory use but killed as surplus to requirements. For a number of reasons that are explained, this more-comprehensive
figure of 115.3 million animals is still likely to be an underestimate.
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The Institute for Laboratory Animal Research — An International Resource for Promoting the Three Rs

Joanne Zurloa

In 1995, an international group of scientists met in Sheringham, Norfolk, UK, for a workshop entitled The Three Rs: The Way Forward. There, with the participation of William Russell and Rex Burch, the group discussed each of the Three Rs in detail, and made specific recommendations on how to promote them within the scientific community. The Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR) was established as part of the US National Academy of Sciences, to develop and disseminate information and guidelines for the care and use of laboratory animals. Over the years, the focus of ILAR has been to improve the health, welfare, and psychological well-being of the research animal, using the Three Rs as a foundation. ILAR’s programmes include an international component, through which it reaches out to other countries via translations of its report; the ILAR Journal, a quarterly publication that focuses on animal models, animal welfare and protocol review; communications and outreach through the ILAR website and presence at scientific meetings; and special reports in which expert committees make recommendations to improve science nd animal welfare. Through the efforts of ILAR and similar organisations, it is now recognised that high standards of humane care lead to better science. However, continued effort is needed to promote the Three Rs in developing countries.
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