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NIH adopts Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals: Eighth Edition

Fern Davies

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12/1/2011 - Adoption and Implementation of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals: Eighth Edition


The NIH has issued a Federal Register Notice (PDF) announcing its adoption of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals: Eighth Edition (Guide) effective January 1, 2012. The notice:

· provides the adoption and implementation plan for the 8th Edition of the Guide;

· provides Position Statements to clarify how the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) expects Assured institutions to implement the Guide and announces a comment period for the public to comment on their understanding of the Position Statements; and

· announces that public comments on the 8th Edition of the Guide collected in spring 2011 and OLAW’s analysis of those comments are available on the OLAW website at http://grants.nih.go...web_listing.htm.

OLAW has developed the Adoption of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals: Eighth Editionwebpage that provides the Position Statements (with links to comment), resources for implementing the Guide, and listing of public comments on adoption of the Guide all in one location.

For questions, suggestions or comments, e-mail to olaw@od.nih.gov.


Explanatory note from the Ornithological Council:


Despite the title, the Guide for the Care and Use Of Laboratory Animals is critically important to all wildlife biologists because it is the primary guidance document for the Animal Care and Use Committees that approve your research protocols. The Public Health Service (National Institutes of Health) requires compliance with this Guide as a condition of grant eligibility not just for you but for your entire institution. Therefore, your university regards the Guide as a bible. Other federal grant-making agencies, including the National Science Foundation, follow this same policy, known formally as the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals:




There is very, very little information in the Guide that pertains directly to wildlife research conducted in the field. In fact, it is about only four paragraphs. However, when the draft version was released, these four short paragraphs contained several major errors and there were other errors pertaining to birds elsewhere in the draft. Together with the American Society of Mammalogists (ASM), OC submitted extensive comments and succeeded in having this problematic information removed or corrected. These comments were also submitted to NIH along with comments raising concerns about the process by which the Guide was revised.


Therefore, the OC did not submit additional comments to the NIH when the NIH issued the notice stating that it proposed to adopt this new edition.


The OC and the ASM are taking additional steps to assure that Animal Care and Use Committees know that they are not only permitted to use the taxon-specific standards issued by our societies, but that in fact it is more appropriate to use these standards than it is to use the Guide insofar as research pertaining to wildlife (in the field and in captivity) is concerned.


Please contact Executive Director Ellen Paul (ellen.paul@verizon.net) if you have any questions.

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