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"Research with Animals" lecture


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Slides for the class meeting on research with animals in Phil 133 ("Ethics in Science") at San Jose State University.

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"Research with Animals" lecture

  1. 1. Research with Animals Phil 133 – Ethics in Science San José State University
  2. 2. In discussing animal-based research, need to distinguish: <ul><li>Scientific issues. </li></ul><ul><li>Ethical issues. </li></ul><ul><li>Legal/regulatory issues. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Ethical issues: <ul><li>Do we have ethical obligations to non-human animals? (Always? In special circumstances?) </li></ul><ul><li>Do non-human animals have rights ? (Where do rights come from? What follows from having rights?) </li></ul><ul><li>What kind of use or treatment of non-human animals is ethically permissible? Ethically required? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Animal rights: <ul><li>If animals cannot consent to X, humans cannot do X without violating animals’ rights. </li></ul><ul><li>Rule of thumb: if you couldn’t ethically do X to a human infant, you cannot ethically do X to a human animal. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Animal welfare: <ul><li>Pain, distress, suffering, boredom or non-human animals ought to be minimized. </li></ul><ul><li>While we have duties to animals’ welfare, animals fall short of having rights. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Recognizing the range of positions available, or represented.
  7. 7. The challenge: societal views about animals vary widely. <ul><li>Some people committed to animal rights. </li></ul><ul><li>Some people committed to animal welfare. </li></ul><ul><li>Some people committed to neither animal rights nor animal welfare. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Scientific research with animals: <ul><li>Aimed at learning more about non-human animals themselves (plus broader issues like comparative anatomy and physiology, evolution, development, genetics, etc.). </li></ul><ul><li>Use of animal models to answer questions about human (and animal) health. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Scientific questions: <ul><li>What can experiments with organism X tell us about the functioning or response of organism Y in analogous conditions? (How much similarity vs. difference?) </li></ul><ul><li>What counts as an appropriate model organism for a particular research question? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Alternatives to research with animals: <ul><li>Tissue culture studies (but culture media are animal-derived) </li></ul><ul><li>Computer simulations (but accurate simulation depends on accurate information about the system you’re simulating) </li></ul>
  11. 11. Federal regulations: <ul><li>Laboratory Animal Welfare Act (1966) </li></ul><ul><li>U.S. Dept. of Agriculture rules </li></ul><ul><li>AWA Amendments of 1970 and 1985. </li></ul><ul><li>Nine U.S. Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals in Testing, Research, and Training. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Also regulations from funding agencies: <ul><li>National Institutes of Health Policy of 1971 </li></ul><ul><li>Health Research Extension Act </li></ul><ul><li>Public Health Service Policy </li></ul>
  13. 13. At colleges and universities: <ul><li>Oversight through Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). </li></ul><ul><li>IACUC reviews and monitors animal use protocols. </li></ul><ul><li>Assures compliance of institutions animal care program and facilities. </li></ul><ul><li>Investigates animal welfare concerns. </li></ul>
  14. 14. IACUC membership: <ul><li>Veterinarian with training/experience in laboratory animal science and medicine </li></ul><ul><li>Practicing scientist experienced in research involving animals </li></ul><ul><li>Someone unaffiliated with the institution </li></ul><ul><li>Non-scientist (representing interests of the public) </li></ul>
  15. 15. What must be described in protocols? <ul><li>Project justification: </li></ul><ul><li>Scientific aims of study. </li></ul><ul><li>Relevance and value of the research. (Why does it matter to answer this question?) </li></ul><ul><li>How this work is novel (and doesn’t unnecessarily duplicate previous research). </li></ul>
  16. 16. What must be described in protocols? <ul><li>Rationale for using animals: </li></ul><ul><li>Proper identification of species to be used (and number of animals). </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriate species (in terms of anatomy, physiology, etc.) for the research question? </li></ul><ul><li>Are all the proposed study methods necessary to obtain valuable results? </li></ul>
  17. 17. Reduction, replacement, refinement (the 3 R’s): <ul><li>Smallest number of animals to get reliable and statistically significant results? </li></ul><ul><li>Does proposed protocol address whether nonliving tissue or inanimate models can be used to achieve the scientific goal? </li></ul><ul><li>Procedures designed to impose least amount of potential pain, discomfort, stress, morbidity, or mortality on the animal? </li></ul>
  18. 18. Must explicitly consider availability of alternatives. <ul><li>“For procedures involving more than momentary or slight pain and distress, the principal investigator must provide a written narrative describing the methods and sources used to determine that alternatives to painful or distressful procedures were not available.” </li></ul><ul><li>USDA Policy 12 </li></ul>
  19. 19. Assessing pain and distress: <ul><li>“Unless the contrary is established, investigators should consider that procedures that cause pain or distress in human beings may cause pain or distress in other animals.” </li></ul><ul><li>U.S. Government Principles – Part IV </li></ul>
  20. 20. Pain and Distress Categories <ul><li>C-1: None anticipated </li></ul><ul><li>C-2: Momentary or no pain and discomfort </li></ul><ul><li>C-3: Management of mild to moderate pain (protocol should details plans to relieve suffering, supplement care) </li></ul>
  21. 21. Pain and Distress Categories <ul><li>C-4: Alleviation of substantial pain or discomfort with analgesics and supportive care. (Research requires physical documentation of actual steps taken to alleviate.) </li></ul><ul><li>C-5: Research where management or alleviation of pain or discomfort is contraindicated. (Requires clear scientific justification.) </li></ul>
  22. 22. Animal research as a privilege, not a right. <ul><li>Principal investigator must get approval from IACUC to conduct research. </li></ul><ul><li>IACUC does not automatically approve new submissions or annual reviews of previously approved protocols. </li></ul><ul><li>Dialogue between PI and IACUC members to ensure good science while minimizing the ethical cost. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Current climate for researchers in larger society: <ul><li>Recent history of violent attacks (especially in California). </li></ul><ul><li>Public isn’t always clear on what scientific questions are being pursued, what kind of research is required to answer them. </li></ul><ul><li>Public opinion not uniform (animal lovers, patients in need of cures, those who are both) </li></ul><ul><li>Basic vs. applied research. </li></ul>