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Introduction I n 1992, the National Research Council published a report titled Recogni- tion and Alleiation of Pain and Distress in Laboratory Animals âto help scientists, research administrators, institutional animal care and use com- mittees (IACUCs), and animal care staff to address the difficult questions of the presence and alleviation of animal pain and distressâ (NRC 1992, p. 1). The need for assistance in this area has persisted and, with new scientific discoveries, the generation of genetically modified animals, and continued regulatory emphasis on minimizing pain and distress in laboratory ani- mals, it became evident that the 1992 report had become outdated. The Institute for Laboratory Animal Research received several requests from the veterinary and biomedical communities to convene a committee to update the report. After many discussions with constituents and several sponsors, the National Academies opted to update the 1992 report as two separate reports, one on distress and one on pain, because although they are linked in regulation, they are quite different scientifically (NRC 2008). This report on the Recognition and Alleiation of Pain in Laboratory Animals was prepared to help scientists, veterinarians, research administra- tors, IACUCs, and animal care staff understand the basis of animal pain, recognize and evaluate its presence and severity, and appreciate means to minimize or abolish pain, according to the charge to the committee that prepared this report: The . . . report will update information based on the current scientific litera- ture on recognizing and alleviating pain in laboratory animals. The report will discuss the physiology of pain in commonly used laboratory species.
8 RECOGNITION AND ALLEVIATION OF PAIN IN LABORATORY ANIMALS Specific emphasis will be placed on the identification of humane end- points, pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic principles to control pain, and principles to utilize in minimizing pain associated with experimental procedures. As with the first report [on Distress], general guidelines and examples will be given to aid IACUC members, investigators and animal care staff in making decisions about protocols using laboratory animals under current federal regulations and policies. The committee believes that in most experimental and husbandry situ- ations laboratory animals need not experience ongoing or substantial pain and that prevention and alleviation of pain in laboratory animals is an ethical imperative. This view, shared by the public and Congress as well as federal agencies and organizations, is codified in laws, regulations, policies, recommendations, and guidelines (presented in Appendix B) that govern the care and use of animals in research and that require the identification, minimization, and elimination of sources of pain, unless the scientific merit of a study demands otherwise. These regulations, policies, and guidelines also require that institutions develop programs for training personnel in procedures to ensure the minimization of animal pain. The purposes of this report are to increase awareness of the sources and recognition of pain in laboratory animals and to increase ethical sensi- tivity in those who use and care for them. The report may also, indirectly, help to reduce the number of animals needed for experimental purposes because uncontrolled pain can increase variability in experimental data and so require the use of more animals. If this report improves investigatorsâ awareness of their obligations for the humane care and use of their research animals, it could even reduce the replication required to establish the gen- erality of their scientific findings. Such a reduction, however, should always be consistent with the necessity to validate important scientific findings. ORGANIZATION OF THE REPORT This report focuses on the principles of recognizing pain and on phar- macologic and nonpharmacologic methods of minimizing and controlling pain. It was not planned as a source of information on experimental design, nor was it designed as a training document, although it may certainly be useful for this purpose (the report Education and Training in the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals might be of more direct assistance with the development of training and education programs; NRC 1991). Chapters 2 and 3 focus on what is known about the biology and physi- ology of pain and how to recognize and assess it in animals. Chapters 4 and 5, respectively, provide information about controlling pain, with species- specific recommendations, and humane endpoints. Appendix A provides
INTRODUCTION information on pain as a study subject, and Appendix B lists the regulatory and legal requirements that apply to pain recognition and management in the use of animals in research. The intent of this report is to help veterinarians, investigators, research- ers, IACUC members, and animal care staff understand pain in order to adequately manage and if possible avoid it. The committee compiled the most up-to-date information available but also relied on its scientific exper- tise to make recommendations to uphold the principles of humane care and use of laboratory animals. The committee urges readers to consider this information carefully and hopes that this report will help link the integrity of scientific methodology to the humane care of animal subjects. REFERENCES NRC (National Research Council). 1991. Education and Training in the Care and Use of Labo- ratory Animals. Washington: National Academy Press. NRC. 1992. Recognition and Alleviation of Pain and Distress in Laboratory Animals. Wash- ington: National Academy Press. NRC. 2008. Recognition and Alleviation of Distress in Laboratory Animals. Washington: Na- tional Academies Press.