Committee on Animal Research and Ethics (CARE) Annual Report 2011

Members: Pamela Scott‐Johnson (Chair), Gary L. Dunbar, Jennifer J. Higa, Barbara J. Kaminski, Scott R. Robinson, Rodney A. Swain, Sangeeta Panicker (APA Staff Liaison)

In pursuit of its mission of safeguarding and promoting ethically and scientifically sound research and teaching involving nonhuman animals in psychological science, the Committee on Animal Research and Ethics’ (CARE) focus in 2011 was on education, outreach, and policy. These general goals were advanced in a number of ways that built on previous years’ progress.

Educational and informational programs to advance understanding and foster interest in the use of animals in teaching and research in psychology

CARE Convention Programs

In its continuing effort to make nonhuman animal research more accessible to the behavioral and psychological science community as a whole, the Committee developed programs that showcase the link between findings in nonhuman animal research, and their application in clinical settings. The goal of such programs is to highlight the relevance of, and thereby increase the support for nonhuman animal research to psychology.

Support of nonhuman animal research and scientists who work with laboratory animals

Outreach

In keeping with its mission to establish collaborative relationships with other organizations with similar interests and in support of the third goal of the APA Strategic Plan, namely, to increase recognition of psychology as a science, CARE sponsored a social event for psychologists who attended the 2011 Society for Neuroscience meeting. The primary goal of the event was to raise awareness and visibility of APA and CARE among psychologists who attend these meetings, particularly the nonhuman animal researchers and to inform neuroscientists about APA efforts in supporting nonhuman animal research. To that end, resources developed by CARE, information about relevant APA journals, and APA advocacy efforts on behalf of nonhuman animal research were prominently displayed at the social event. With support from the APA Science Directorate, CARE intends to sponsor this event for the next two years and evaluate the effectiveness of this initiative through measures such as attendance at the socials, number of CARE brochures, DVDs, etc. distributed, number of inquiries about APA/CARE, and number of hits on the CARE website.

Mentoring young scientists

The Committee discussed plans for re‐instituting the CARE Imprinting Awards (CIA) program in 2013 and beyond. The Committee is continuing to explore funding opportunities from several of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) including, the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the National Institute on Neurological Diseases and Strokes (NINDS), as well as other entities. In 2011, CARE collaborated with Divisions 3, 6, and 28 and submitted a proposal to the APA Interdivisional Grant Program to secure funding to host a mentoring program at the 2012 APA Convention in Orlando, FL.

Policy and regulation

Revision of CARE Guidelines

The Committee finalized a draft of its revised APA Guidelines for ethical conduct in the care and use of nonhuman animals in research, based on comments received from other APA governance groups and the public at large. The draft Guidelines were approved by BSA at its fall 2011 meeting and by the Board of Directors in December 2011.

8th Edition of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals as Public Health Service (PHS) Policy

On behalf of APA, CARE drafted comments to the NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare on the adoption of the newly published 8th edition of The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (The Guide) as PHS Policy.

Future plans and development of new initiatives

CARE generated a list of potential initiatives for the Committee and began to prioritize them. The short list includes:

  • Devote more time and effort over the next five years to raising awareness about and the profile of nonhuman animal research in psychology.

  • Solicitation of ideas from divisions for additional ways in which to make the field more diverse, welcoming, and supportive.

  • Work on the problem of computer‐simulations as replacements for live animal demonstrations as teaching tools. One idea is to create an informational document that points out the shortcomings of using computer‐simulations in lieu of live animal demonstrations for teaching.

Membership changes

Jennifer Higa, Barbara Kaminski, Scott Robinson, and Pamela Scott‐Johnson continued to serve on the Committee. Gary Dunbar and Rodney Swain joined the Committee. CARE elected Dr. Dunbar to serve as the Chair of CARE in 2012. Drs. Kaminski and Robinson rotated off the Committee at the end of 2011, and were replaced by Allyson Bennett and Marilyn Carroll in 2012.