The AAMC Feb. 20 submitted comments to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), supporting several proposals to streamline and make more effective regulations on the care of animals used in medical research.
The AAMC’s comments directly responded to the draft report Reducing Administrative Burden for Animal Care and Use in Research, developed by an interagency working group led by OLAW that included the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, which also oversee the protection of animals used in federally funded research [see Washington Highlights, Dec. 14, 2018].
In its comments, the AAMC commended the working group’s proposals as genuine progress toward addressing regulatory burden without mitigating protections for research animals. New proposals include expanding the ability to use “designated member review” from local Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUCs), as opposed to full committee review, for research protocols that pose less risk or distress to research animals. The working group also recommends a 60-day review period for “significant policies” affecting care; the AAMC recommends that the 60-day review period be extended for other policies as well. The AAMC also embraced OLAW’s proposal to allow institutions accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) International to use common reporting formats.
In closing, the AAMC reaffirmed its belief that “the advancement of scientific and medical knowledge depends on the appropriate care and welfare of the animals used in research” and that “overlapping, duplicative, or unnecessary requirements not only cost researchers time, but detract energy and resources which can be better employed protecting the welfare of the animals, and ensuring that animals are treated appropriately.” It is expected that NIH and the interagency working group will review the comments for a final report to be issued later this year.