Recognition and Alleviation of Distress in Laboratory Animals (December 2007)Report in Brief
Many scientific advancements in biomedical research would not be possible without the use of laboratory animals. Proper care of animals used in research has been an ongoing priority for the scientific community, and there are many laws and regulations that govern the use of animals in research. It has become more widely recognized that animals may experience distress in a laboratory setting, and that this distress may interfere with the animal's overall welfare, disrupt scientific experiments, and result in unforeseen behavioral and physical changes. Recent scientific progress in the fields of stress and distress, along with greater sensitivity by scientific investigators and the public, have warranted the development of an updated set of guidelines for the recognition and alleviation of distress in laboratory animals. This report updates 1992 National Research Council guidelines for decisions regarding the care and use of animals in the research environment. The report concludes that more research in the area of distress is necessary in order for scientists to make objective, informed decisions concerning the improvement of laboratory animal welfare.