animals are used in laboratories, mammals

Whenever animals are used in laboratories, minimizing any pain and distress they suffer should
be as important an objective as achieving the experimental results. The refinenient of
procedures to make them more humane should now be an integral part of all scientific research.
This is important both from humanitarian concerns and in order to satisfy the requirements of
the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.
In recent years, more attention has been focused on the need to recognize and control
adverse effects of scientific procedures on animals. Similarly, attetition is being paid to the
need to improve and enrich the environment in which laboratory animals spend their lives.
There is thus a great deal of scope for improving current laboratory practice for the benefit of
animal welfare. Such improvements can also improve the quality of scientific research, since
suffering and distress in animals can result in physiological changes which are likely to add
another variable to experimental results.
Significant improvements in laboratory techniques and animal husbandry can be made
immediately, in several ways. In order to do this, clear, unequivocal and up to date information
on all aspects of laboratory animal care and use must be readily available. Concern over the
need to provide such information led to the RSPCA, FRAME, UFAW and the BVA
establishing a Joint Working Group in 1989. The aim of the group was to set up a series of
workshops to discuss ways that common laboratory procedures could be refined to minimize
any pain or distress caused to laboratory animals. The members of each working party were
drawn from the scientific community, from industry, academia and from animal welfare organizations.
An observer from the Home Office Inspectorate was represented on the Working
Each workshop was intended to address a single topic, the proceedings being published
in the scientific press. This report, entitied 'The Removal of Blood from Laboratory Mammals
and Birds', is the first of the series. It aims to describe in detail the most humane methods for
taking blood samples from the common laboratory animal species. A second report on
improving housing systems for rabbits is nearly completed.
Some of those involved in these workshops are opposed to the use of animals in
experiments that may cause the animals pain, suffering or distress. However, they share with
many in science the common aim of reducing animal suffering wherever it occurs. The reports
of these refinement workshops are intended to help achieve that aim, particularly if they are
read in conjunction with other recent reports on the recognition, measurement, and alleviation
of pain or distress in animals.
It is hoped that this, and subsequent reports, will be widely circulated within
establishments designated under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, and that the
recommendations contained therein will be adopted as 'Best Laboratory Practice'.