Committee on Animal Research and Ethics (CARE) Annual Report 2012

Members: Gary L. Dunbar (chair), Allyson Bennett, Marilyn Carroll, Jennifer J. Higa, Pamela Scott-Johnson, Rodney A. Swain, 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 2012 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 nonhuman 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 CARE convention program in 2012 highlighted the interrelationships between obesity and cognitive functioning. The goal of such programs is to highlight the relevance of, and thereby increase the support for, nonhuman animal research in 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 developed a series of posters to present at the 2012 Society for Neuroscience (SfN) meeting. The posters highlighted the history of the Committee, public education and engagement about nonhuman animal research, how universities can support nonhuman animal research and protect investigators and their laboratory animals from extremists, and promoting nonhuman animal research for health. This initiative was lauded by the presenters at the SfN Panel on Animal Research as the type of public outreach that needs to be continued and expanded to counteract the growing pressures of entities that are devoted to ending all research with nonhuman animals.

Mentoring young scientists

CARE collaborated with divisions 3, 6, and 28 on a mentoring program for advanced graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Funding for the program was obtained through the APA Committee on Division/APA Relations (CODAPAR) Interdivisional Grant Program, with additional support from divisions 3 and 6, the APA Science Directorate, Mount Holyoke College, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The 12 awardees attended the 2012 APA Convention in Orlando, Fla., and participated in several special programs, including skill building sessions on increasing diversity in psychological science through mentoring, advocacy training for psychological scientists, and building skills for a more inclusive scientific community. In addition, the winners also presented their research to potential mentors and funding agency staff at a poster session and social hour. This award was open to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who conduct research with nonhuman animals as well as human subjects.

Policy and regulation

8th Edition of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (The Guide)

CARE met with Nancy Ator, the APA representative to the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, International (AAALAC) and Matthew Bailey, vice president of the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR) to get an update on current regulatory and legislative initiatives focused on research with nonhuman animals. The Committee solicited advice from Dr. Ator regarding possible ways to moderate the impact of some of the recommendations in the guide. Dr. Ator suggested that the scientific community could do a systematic review of the literature cited in the guide and bring inconsistent information to the attention of the NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW). Dr. Ator also suggested that concerned scientists could write a series of articles to better inform the general public about the detrimental effect of these policies and recommendations on valuable biomedical and behavioral research with nonhuman animals.

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, based on comments received from APA governance groups and the public at large. The guidelines were adopted as APA policy by the Council of Representatives in February 2012. The Committee also revised its Guidelines for the Use of Animals in Behavioral Projects in Schools (K-12), which was approved by the board of directors in December 2012 and will be forwarded to the Council of Representatives for approval at the February 2013 meeting.

CARE Advocacy

During its fall meeting, the Committee participated in an advocacy training conducted by the APA Science Government Relations Office. Pursuant to the training, CARE members visited the congressional offices of their various state representatives to discuss the impact of pending legislation on nonhuman animal research and on science funding. Participating members advocated for a resolution that would prevent instituting sequestration, a measure that would significantly cut funding for research and education that is vital to the wellbeing of the country.

Membership changes

Gary Dunbar, Jennifer Higa, Rodney Swain, and Pamela Scott-Johnson continued to serve on the Committee. Allyson Bennett and Marilyn Carroll joined the Committee. CARE elected Dr. Bennett to serve as the chair of CARE in 2013. Drs. Higa and Scott-Johnson rotated off the Committee at the end of 2012, and were replaced by Kenneth Leising and Wendy Lynch in 2013.