Update of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals

In a continuing effort to improve the conditions for animals in research, the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR) has initiated an update to the 1996 version of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (commonly known as the Guide). The Guide is not only the basis for AAALAC International accreditation, but is also central to the Public Health Service Policy on the Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. The Guide’s recommendations carry the force of law based on the Health Research Extension Act passed by Congress in 1985.

The Guide is intended to assist IACUCs, researchers, and veterinarians in fulfilling their obligation to plan, conduct, and oversee animal experiments in accordance with the highest scientific, humane, and ethical principles. The Guide makes recommendations for humane animal care and use based on published data, scientific principles, expert opinion, and experience with methods and practices proven consistent with high-quality, humane animal care and use. It is an important part in the implementation of the 3Rs.

The update effort intends to reflect new scientific information related to the issues already covered in the Guide, and to add discussion and guidance on new topics of laboratory animal care and use related to state-of-the-art animal research programs. Specifically, the committee will review the scientific literature published since the release of the 1996 Guide and determine whether the information currently in the Guide concurs with current scientific evidence. The committee will also review the literature related to new technologies related to laboratory animal care and use and determine where new guidance is necessary to ensure the best scientific outcomes and optimal animal welfare. Three open forums will be held to discuss changes to be made and solicit public opinion.