Committee on Animal Research and Ethics (CARE): 2013 Annual Report
- 2013 Chair: Allyson Bennett
- Marilyn Carroll
- Gary L. Dunbar
- Kenneth Leising
- Wendy Lynch
- 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 2013 was on outreach, advocacy and education. These general goals were advanced in a number of ways that built on previous years' progress.
Support of nonhuman animal research and scientists who work with laboratory animals
In keeping with its mission to establish collaborative relationships with other organizations with similar interests, CARE spearheaded the establishment of a coalition of scientific societies who are invested in supporting and promulgating ethically and scientifically sound research with nonhuman animals. Coalition representatives held an inaugural conference call in July 2013 and began discussing various initiatives that the coalition might undertake in the coming year.
The Committee decided that, in an effort to assist nonhuman animal researchers experiencing a variety of issues at their local institution level, CARE would develop informational resources in the form of articles for publication. These articles are intended to address issues such as over-regulation by Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC), increasing regulations without commensurate improvements in laboratory animal welfare, and escalating campaigns by entities opposed to such research to target scientists and their institutions.
Noting that most undergraduate psychology textbooks lack information on the historical and continuing contributions of research with nonhuman animals, CARE began developing short PowerPoint presentations on the role of nonhuman animal research in psychology. Such educational materials will allow interested instructors to easily incorporate this vital information into various psychology courses.
Survey of Psychology Department Nonhuman Animal Research Programs
The Committee designed a survey to get an understanding of the current status of nonhuman animal research in psychology departments across the country, including the use of nonhuman animals in research and teaching, the types of facilities and institutional support for research, and whether the department has been targeted by entities opposed to nonhuman animal research. The APA Center for Workforce Studies administered the survey in September 2013. The Committee will review and discuss the results of the survey at the spring 2014 meeting.
Advocating for continued support of research with nonhuman animals
CARE Congressional Hill Visits
During its fall meeting, the Committee participated in an advocacy training conducted by the APA Science Government Relations Office. After the training, CARE members visited the congressional offices of their various state representatives to discuss the impact of sequestration on funding for nonhuman animal research. Participating members also encouraged their congressional representatives to continue support for research with nonhuman animals and to oppose bills or amendments that argue against all research with nonhuman animals. Given the importance of advocating for ethical research with nonhuman animals, the Committee intends to investigate the feasibility of making congressional visits an annual event.
On behalf of CARE, APA sponsored a congressional briefing in September 2013 to highlight how research with nonhuman animals benefits children and adolescents. The panel focused on how laboratory animal research has contributed to our understanding of autism, sports-related concussions and substance abuse. Attendees at the event included congressional staff, representatives from scientific organizations and federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. The event was a success and lauded by many attendees. The briefing was co-sponsored by several CARE Coalition organizations including the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, the Neurobehavioral Teratology Society and the Research Society on Alcoholism. CARE intends to organize additional congressional briefings in the future.
Revision of CARE Guidelines
The Committee's revised Guidelines for the Use of Nonhuman Animals in Behavioral Projects in Schools (K-12) were approved by the APA Council of Representatives in February 2013.
Future plans and development of new initiatives
CARE generated a list of potential initiatives for the Committee to pursue, including:
- Developing additional educational resources aimed at increasing recognition of the vital role of nonhuman animal research in psychology, with special emphasis on students from elementary through college levels.
- More effective use of various social media outlets to highlight the contributions of nonhuman animal research.
Allyson Bennett, Marilyn Carroll, Gary Dunbar and Rodney Swain continued to serve on the Committee. Kenneth Leising and Wendy Lynch joined the Committee. CARE re-elected Bennett to serve as the chair of CARE in 2014. Dunbar and Swain rotated off the Committee at the end of 2013, and were replaced by John Capitanio and Mark Reilly.