Elisabeth H. Ormandy, Julie Dale and Gilly Griffin
The genetic engineering of animals for their use in science challenges the implementation of refinement and reduction in several areas, including the invasiveness of the procedures involved, unanticipated welfare concerns, and the numbers of animals required. Additionally, the creation of genetically engineered animals raises problems with the Canadian system of reporting animal numbers per Category of Invasiveness, as well as raising issues of whether ethical limits can, or should, be placed on genetic engineering. A workshop was held with the aim of bringing together Canadian animal care committee members to discuss these issues, to reflect on progress that has been made in addressing them, and to propose ways of overcoming any challenges. Although previous literature has made recommendations with regard to refinement and reduction when creating new genetically-engineered animals, the perception of the workshop participants was that some key opportunities are being missed. The participants identified the main roadblocks to the implementation of refinement and reduction alternatives as confidentiality, cost and competition. If the scientific community is to make progress concerning the implementation of refinement and reduction, particularly in the creation and use of genetically-engineered animals, addressing these roadblocks needs to be a priority.