The AAMC on May 5 submitted a letter to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) commenting on proposed changes to guidance for reporting instances of noncompliance with standard animal care, responding to OLAW’s Jan. 23 request for information (RFI). The proposed changes are the latest in a series of reforms that OLAW has undertaken over several years to streamline administrative burden in caring for laboratory animals, as called for in the 21st Century Cures Act (PL 114-255).
In its comments, the AAMC reaffirmed that the academic medicine community is committed to the ethical and responsible use of animals in medical research. The association generally supported OLAW’s proposed changes, but stated that the 21st Century Cures Act envisioned a much more comprehensive and effective reform. OLAW’s proposals to date, in the AAMC’s view, have been “too incremental and reserved.” AAMC Chief Scientific Officer Ross McKinney, MD, on behalf of the association, wrote, “The AAMC would encourage the NIH and other agencies to engage with the research community in a more extensive overhaul of the current compliance system, for a more effective and responsive deployment of resources that would better ensure animal welfare.”
OLAW on April 25 issued a new RFI, proposing clarifications of animal activities that would be exempt from Public Health Service policy requirements for review by Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees, the local bodies overseeing responsible care for laboratory animals. Responses to the new RFI are due on July 31.