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  • Washington Highlights

    AAMC Submits Comments on Reforming Federal Animal Research Policies

    Heather Pierce, Senior Director, Science Policy & Regulatory Counsel
    Stephen Heinig, Director, Science Policy

    The AAMC June 7 submitted comments in response to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare’s (OLAW) Request for Information (RFI) on ways to coordinate and harmonize federal regulations and policies around animal research. As directed by the 21st Century Cures Act, the RFI seeks comments on how to reduce the burden of regulation for federally funded researchers and particularly to address oversight of the care and use of animals in research.

    Multiple agencies, including the US Department of Agriculture and the NIH, have responsibilities for this oversight, and their regulations, policies, and guidance are often seen to conflict and/or overlap. While generally supportive of the limited list of actions proposed by OLAW in the RFI, the AAMC calls for a much more systematic, comprehensive reform of regulations and policies for the humane care and use of animals in research. “The RFI, which could readily have asked open questions about the most impactful ways to reform animal regulations, is notably narrow in scope, raising concerns about whether the goals of 21st Century Cures will be realized.”

    The AAMC’s recommendations were drawn from a report of a workshop convened last year by the AAMC, the Federation of Associations for Experimental Biology (FASEB), the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR), and the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR).