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Balancing animal research with animal well-being: establishment of goals and harmonization of approaches.

Weed, James L; Raber, James M.
ILAR J; 46(2): 118-28, 2005.
Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-15775021
A resource is provided for the creation of an institutional program that balances the scientific mission of an institution with the well-being of the animals used in support of the research. The concept of harmonizing scientific goals with animal well-being was first suggested in the early part of the twentieth century and later revitalized in the literature of the 1950s. Harmonization can best be achieved through the promotion of a team initiative. The team should include, at a minimum, the scientist, veterinarian, institutional animal care and use committee, and animal care staff. It is the responsibility of this animal research team to promote and balance the generation of scientifically valid data with animal well-being. The team must strive to minimize or eliminate non-protocol variables that could adversely affect the validity and repeatability of the experimental data. Good experimental design coupled with excellent communication between team members can often minimize or eliminate many variables and result in both better science and animal well-being. To ensure the scientific validity of experimental data, scientists must be aware of the complex nature of the environment in which their animals are maintained. To ensure repeatablity of an experiment, scientists must document and publish both the inanimate and social environments in which their animals are housed. Better documentation of environmental variables and their correlation with experimental results will promote critical knowledge about the relationships between an animal's environment, its well-being, and science.