How can the public be assured that researchers are using mice in a responsible way?
Almost every advance and Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine has been dependent on research with animals. And, virtually all advances in veterinary medicine are thanks to research using animal models.
Proper animal care and use goes hand-in-hand with good science. Animal research is strictly regulated, and work with animals is conducted by professionals dedicated and committed to the welfare of animals in research. Every experiment is reviewed by an Animal Care and Use Committee, including non-scientist voting member.
Besides federal and state regulations, The Jackson Laboratory meets the voluntary accreditation and assessment guidelines of AAALAC International, a private, nonprofit organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals in science.
Research animal care and use is guided by a principle known as the “Three Rs”:
- Refinement: Providing the best possible living condition for animals, minimizing pain and providing better training for animal technicians
- Reduction: Designing experiments to use the minimum number of animals while achieving statistically significant results, methods allowing multiple procedures on single animals
- Replacement: Using In vitro testing, computer modelling, in vivo imaging and other noninvasive techniques whenever possible
Scientists also embrace the principle of a fourth “R”: respect, representing respect for humanity by reducing the suffering caused by disease, and respect for the animals they work with.
Specific measures at JAX:
- Review by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, which includes at least one veterinarian and a volunteer member of the community unaffiliated with JAX
- CLAM or Veterinary Technician Rounds
- Veterinary care available 24/7/365
- Biosecurity, environmental and health monitoring
- AAALACi accreditation: this is a voluntary accreditation program that requires accredited institutions to not only meet the minimum standards required by law but also go the extra step to achieve excellence in animal care and use
- Education and awareness regarding animal welfare
- Continuous efforts to identify ways to improve animal welfare