APA responds to NIH guidance on what constitutes 'significant change' in animal research activities

Proposal is described as ambiguous and having little impact on laboratory animal welfare.

The American Psychological Association (APA) has submitted comments to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) on its Proposed Guidance Regarding Significant Changes to Ongoing Animal Activities (NOT-OD-14-063) (PDF, 59KB). APA’s Committee on Animal Research and Ethics contributed to the development of APA’s comments.  

APA’s primary concern is that contrary to its intent, the proposed guidance on what is considered a significant change to an ongoing animal activity that requires Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) review would have the opposite effect of increasing burdens on both investigators and IACUCs, with negligible, if any, impact on the welfare of research animals. Furthermore, APA believes that the proposed guidance is ambiguous and contradictory, and would impede an IACUC’s ability to use its own discretion in establishing a policy for determining significance of a change and for implementing an effective oversight mechanism (such as whether there should be a full, designated or administrative review of a change).

The comments, which were submitted on May 15, 2014, are available online (PDF, 318KB). For additional information, contact Sangeeta Panicker of the APA Science Directorate.