How regulation hamstrings animal research

US agencies change previously effective rules, give oversight to people unfamiliar with the benefits of animal research, and place unreasonable demands on researchers

Göran Hellekant, Göran Hellekant, and Göran Hellekant
Feb 1, 2006

Government agencies like to cite the dangers of animal rights activists. But the Research Animal Resource Centers (RARCs) and Animal Care Unit Committees (ACUCs) created in response to the US Animal Welfare Act (AWA) constitute a larger threat to progress in the health sciences than the actions of any such activists. The net outcome has been huge expenditures and, in many cases, increased numbers of animals needlessly killed.

Ignorance has set the course and fear has silenced most spectators. I've worked with more than 30 different mammalian species in my three decades as an experimental neuroscientist, and I've served as chair of the Wisconsin University Union, a faculty and staff organization devoted to the protection and enhancement of due process for university employees. And due process, when it comes to institutional ACUCs certainly requires protection.

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT

The AWA is not included in the local institution's legal system that...

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