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OLAW updates position statements on federal lab animal policy

Updates meant to clarify the implementation of the 8th Edition of the Guide.

By Jenna McGwin

On June 1, 2012, the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) announced that the Position Statements on the Implementation of the 8th Edition of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (the Guide) had been updated. From Dec. 1, 2011, through Feb. 3, 2012, OLAW solicited comments from the public on its interpretation and understanding of the position statements. OLAW received 44 responses from scientists, Public Health Service (PHS) Assured institutions, professional organizations, and animal advocacy organizations. After review of the comments, OLAW deemed the following Position Statements in need of clarification: 

  • Cost 

  • Housing

  1.  Nonhuman Primate Housing 

  2. Rodent Housing 

  • Nonpharmaceutical Grade Substances

The original Position Statements, released in December 2011, have been archived (PDF, 100KB), and OLAW created a summary document (PDF, 52KB) that highlights all of the changes to the Position Statements.

The American Psychological Association (APA) is pleased to note that the revisions of the “Cost” and “Housing” Position Statements were revised, in part, on the basis of suggestions in APA’s formal comment letter (PDF, 186KB). In line with comments submitted by the National Association for Biomedical Research, a coalition to which APA belongs, APA recommended that “animal welfare and the integrity of research findings, rather than cost alone, should be the primary factors in decisions related to assuring compliance with the recommendations in the Guide in PHS-funded research.”


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Jenna McGwin is Research Ethics Program Associate in the APA Research Ethics Office.