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Reducing Pain and Distress in Animal Research

Researchers practicing good science must be concerned with the well-being of their laboratory animals; health problems, pain, and stress may introduce unwanted variables that can invalidate study results. Concern for laboratory animals also reflects a fundamental principle of ethical animal research: experimental animals, regardless of species, should not undergo unnecessary distress or discomfort. Attention to the animal’s wellbeing begins with research planning. Studies should be desi

The Scientist Staff

Researchers practicing good science must be concerned with the well-being of their laboratory animals; health problems, pain, and stress may introduce unwanted variables that can invalidate study results. Concern for laboratory animals also reflects a fundamental principle of ethical animal research: experimental animals, regardless of species, should not undergo unnecessary distress or discomfort.

Attention to the animal’s wellbeing begins with research planning. Studies should be designed to use the minimum number of animals exposed to the least amount of noxious stimulation for the shortest time. The institution’s veterinarian can help by providing valuable information on the probable occurrence, magnitude and duration of pain, discomfort or distress caused by each planned procedure. In planning the analgesic and anesthetic regimens for the research protocol, it is important to distinguish between acute and chronic pain, and between pain that will be alleviated and pain that cannot or will not be reduced. In studies...

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