It is often said by the animal rights community that research animals like rodents, birds, and fish are not protected by federal laws. Yesterday, the blog Speaking of Research addressed this confusion and outlined the protections granted to these animals in research and testing despite the claims of anti-research activists.
Although not covered by the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), rodents, birds and fish bred for research are federally protected. Under the Health Research Extension Act (HREA), statutory authority is granted to the Public Health Service (PHS) Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (PHS Policy). Institutions receiving federal funds must comply with PHS Policy which contains extensive information on procedures and the care of live vertebrate animals. This policy, overseen by the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), has the authority to suspend projects and even cease funding if violations of PHS Policy are found. Finally, at the institutional level, private accreditations and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) provides oversight and public transparency for the research.
To read Speaking of Research’s interesting coverage of this myth, please click here.