Committee on Animal Research and Ethics (CARE) Annual Report 2010

Members: Jennifer J. Higa (Chair), Theresa A. Jones, Barbara Kaminski, Scott R. Robinson, Pamela Scott-Johnson, Eric P. Wiertelak, Sangeeta Panicker (APA Staff Liaison)

In pursuit of its mission of safeguarding and promoting ethically and scientifically sound research and teaching involving nonhuman animals in psychological science, the Committee on Animal Research and Ethics’ (CARE) focus in 2010 was on education, outreach, and policy. These general goals were advanced in a number of ways that built on previous years’ progress.

Educational and informational programs to advance understanding and foster interest in the use of animals in teaching and research in psychology

CARE Convention Programs In its continuing effort to make nonhuman animal research more accessible to the behavioral and psychological science community as a whole, the Committee developed programs that showcase the link between findings in nonhuman animal research, and their application in clinical settings. The goal of such programs is to highlight the relevance of, and thereby increase the support for nonhuman animal research to psychology.

Support of nonhuman animal research and scientists who work with laboratory animals

Outreach In keeping with its mission to establish collaborative relationships with other organizations with similar interests and in support of the third goal of the APA Strategic Plan, namely, to increase recognition of psychology as a science CARE submitted a proposal for a multi-year plan, beginning in 2011, in which the Science Directorate would sponsor events for psychologists who attend conferences of other related scientific societies such as Society for Neuroscience. The primary goal is to raise awareness and visibility of APA and CARE among psychologists who attend these meetings, particularly the nonhuman animal researchers and to inform neuroscientists about APA efforts in supporting nonhuman animal research. To that end, CARE generated resources, information about relevant APA journals, and APA advocacy efforts on behalf of nonhuman animal research will be prominently displayed at the social event. Throughout the three-year pilot period, CARE will evaluate the effectiveness of this initiative through measures such as attendance at the socials, number of CARE brochures, DVDs, etc. distributed, number of inquires about APA/CARE, and number of hits on the CARE website.

Mentoring young scientists The Committee discussed plans for continuing the CARE Imprinting Awards (CIA) program in 2010 and beyond. The Committee is continuing to explore funding opportunities from several of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) including, the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the National Institute on Neurological Diseases and Strokes (NINDS), as well as other entities.

Policy and Regulation

Revision of CARE Guidelines The Committee finalized a draft of its revised APA Guidelines for ethical conduct in the care and use of nonhuman animals in research. The draft Guidelines were approved by BSA at its fall 2010 meeting. CARE will solicit comments from all other APA governance groups during the 2011 spring consolidated meetings. Comments will also be solicited from divisions, state and provincial association, and the public at large.

NRC Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals Through the APA representative to the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, International (AAALAC), Nancy A. Ator, CARE submitted comments on the revised draft of The Guide. The Guide, is the primary reference document for AAALAC accreditation as well as for the Public Health Services assurance with the Office for Laboratory Animal Welfare.

Future plans and development of new initiatives

CARE generated a list of potential initiatives for the Committee and began to prioritize them. The short list includes:
  • Devote more time and effort over the next five years to raising awareness about and the profile of nonhuman animal research in psychology.

  • Solicitation of ideas from divisions for additional ways in which to make the field more diverse, welcoming, and supportive.

  • Work on the problem of computer-simulations as replacements for live animal demonstrations as teaching tools. One idea is to create an informational document that points out the shortcomings of using computer-simulations in lieu of live animal demonstrations for teaching.

Membership Changes

Jennifer J. Higa and Pamela Scott-Johnson completed their terms on CARE at the end of 2009, but were selected to serve another three year term. Thus, there were no changes to the membership of CARE in 2010. In addition, CARE re-elected Jennifer J. Higa to serve as the Chair of CARE in 2010.