Animal Welfare – What is Animal Welfare?
Animal welfare is the ethical responsibility of ensuring animal well-being. Animal well-being is the condition in which animals experience good health, are able to effectively cope with their environment, and are able to express a diversity of species-typical behaviors (read more at www.AVMA.org). Protecting an animal’s welfare means providing for its physical and mental needs.
NABR’s Commitment to Animal Welfare
NABR is committed to the judicious, humane use of animals in biomedical research, higher education and product safety testing. In support of this commitment NABR advocates for the development and implementation of public policy based upon sound scientific information and/or current standards of practice as defined by experts in the fields of laboratory animal science and medicine. To this end NABR relies upon the input of its members and experts in the fields of laboratory animal science and medicine in developing its policy positions and public statements.
Assuring Animal Welfare
While the various regulatory, funding and accrediting agencies have established regulations and requirements designed to assure that the welfare of those animals used in biomedical research, teaching and testing, the day-to-day assurance comes from the oversight of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and the program of veterinary care that must be in place at each research institution.
Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals
The scientific community has long recognized its professional and moral obligation to protect and improve the welfare of laboratory animals. In fact members of the scientific community concerned about the care and treatment of laboratory animals established voluntary standards long before there were any government regulations.
Animal Activism – The Animal Rights Movement
The animal rights movement is a global movement that seeks to end the moral and legal distinction drawn between human and animals, to eliminate the status of animals as property, and to stop the use of animals in research, food, clothing, and entertainment industries.
Various animal rights groups have committed a wide variety of acts including threats and intimidation, property destruction, vandalism, arson, and even inflicting extreme physical harm. One of the most notorious of these extreme groups, the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), was formed in 1976 by a band of activists whose desire was to terrorize those who use animals. Activists claim to see themselves as modern revolutionary heroes, and in the belief that they occupy a moral high ground, have bombed buildings and risked lives in order to remove animals from farms and laboratories. Because of these acts of intimidation and violence, mainstream public opinion of the movement has been unfavorable, and even from within the animal rights movement, there has been criticism of the form of animal rights activism practiced by groups such as ALF. The public reaction has been so negative to these acts of violence, that today the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice labels underground groups such as the Animal Liberation Front as domestic terrorist organizations.