APA's 2002 Ethics Code, which takes effect June 1, mandates that psychologists who use animals in research:

  • Acquire, care for, use and dispose of animals in compliance with current federal, state and local laws and regulations, and with professional standards.

  • Ensure that all individuals under their supervision who are using animals have received instruction in research methods and in the care, maintenance and handling of the species being used, to the extent appropriate to their role.

  • Make reasonable efforts to minimize the discomfort, infection, illness and pain of animal subjects.

  • Use a procedure subjecting animals to pain, stress or privation only when an alternative procedure is unavailable and the goal is justified by its prospective scientific, educational or applied value.

  • Perform surgical procedures under appropriate anesthesia and follow techniques to avoid infection and minimize pain during and after surgery.

  • Proceed rapidly when it is appropriate that an animal's life be terminated, with an effort to minimize pain and in accordance with accepted procedures.

Moreover, psychologists trained in appropriate research methods and experienced in the care of laboratory animals must supervise all procedures involving these animals and are "responsible for ensuring appropriate consideration of their comfort, health and humane treatment," says the code.

ANIMAL RESEARCH RESOURCES

--D. SMITH