Notice of a Report on the Review of Responses to the National Institutes of Health Request for Information (RFI): Standards for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals

Notice Number: NOT-OD-07-016

Key Dates
Release Date: November 9, 2006
RFI Release Date: November 9, 2005 (NOT-OD-06-011) Request for Information (RFI) Standards for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals
RFI Update: February 23, 2006 (NOT-OD-06-040) - This notice announced the extension of the deadline until March 31, 2006

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH), (http://www.nih.gov)

The purpose of this Notice is to inform the research community of the NIH review of submissions to RFI NOT-OD-06-011 (Request for Information: Standards for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals), (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-06-011.html ), which explored the need to update the laboratory animal welfare standards of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Guide). As a first step, the Office of Scientific Affairs (OSA) sought to identify new scientific information that might warrant NIH issuing a contract for a new or updated edition of the Guide.

Background

The Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (PHS Policy, http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/references/PHSPolicyLabAnimals.pdf) incorporates by reference the latest edition of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/labrats/). The Guide was initially published in 1963, and revised in 1965, 1968, 1972, 1978, 1985, and 1996. The purpose of the Guide, as indicated in the Preface of the 1996 edition, is to assist institutions in caring for and using animals in ways judged to be scientifically, technically, and humanely appropriate. Further, recommendations of the Guide are based on published data, scientific principles, expert opinion, and experience with methods and practices that have proved to be consistent with high-quality humane care and use.

A Request For Information (RFI) solicited new scientifically valid information, methods or practices, published data or other advances in the humane care and use of laboratory animals, in order to assess the need for updating the standards in the 1996 Guide (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-06-011.html), which is used currently, in order for NIH to determine the need to update the standards of the Guide.

Report

A working group composed of 12 scientists and laboratory animal medicine veterinarians from Public Health Service Agencies reviewed the submissions (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/rfi_lab_animal_standards/RFI-Submissions.pdf - 115 MB PDF file). The group considered the responsiveness of each submission in providing new scientifically valid information that justified a need for updating the standards of the current 1996 Guide.

The group found no evidence to warrant revising the performance standards of the 1996 Guide. These standards have allowed individual institutions the flexibility to adapt policies and procedures to their own institutional environments. Some submissions reflected the diversity permitted by the existing Guide standards.

However, some submissions recognized several areas for improvement of the Guide resulting in a number of recommendations of how the Guide might be enhanced for better utilization by NIH-supported investigators. The recommendations included:

A copy of the group’s report to the NIH may be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/rfi_lab_animal_standards/RFI-Report.pdf (66 K PDF file).

Inquiry

For questions or further information, contact:

Margaret Snyder, Ph.D.
Office of Extramural Research
National Institutes of Health
Rockledge 1, MSC 7983
6705 Rockledge Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892-7983
phone: 301-402-1058
fax: 301-480-3530
e-mail: ScientificAffairs@od.nih.gov


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