Submitted to: Scientists Center for Animal Welfare Newsletter (Quarterly)
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/21/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: In response to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and Public Health Service Policy for animals used in research, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) regulates all research utilizing vertebrate animals. Such regulations are described in ARS Directives with coverage extending to all vertebrate animals at all ARS locations, or other locations in which ARS funds or ARS personnel are involved. Fish are vertebrate animals therefor requiring close monitoring and maintenance of their well being during all experimental studies. There is no exclusion from coverage for fish used in farm production research even though the AWA excludes animals utilized for such purposes. ARS regulations require the development of animal use protocols and approval by a local Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Each IACUC must have at least one veterinarian participant. General veterinary standards concerning use of analgesia, anesthesia, etc. are expected to be followed and supervised by the IACUC's attending veterinarian. Since ARS is a research agency with myriad research objectives, each site using fish develops their own protocols and procedures. A guideline is presented to make documentation of fish needs and research protocols easy for ARS researchers and collaborators. It is suggested that guidelines be developed and published as self-contained "chapters" thus making it easier for users to keep for reference in their facility only the relevant guidance information.
Technical Abstract: Regulation of research involving vertebrate animals sin the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is described in two ARS documents: ARS Directive 635.1, Humane Animal Care and Use, and ARS Directive 130.4, Animal Care and Use Committee. There is no exclusion for animals used for farm production research even though the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) specifically excludes from coverage animals used or intended for use in specifically excludes from coverage animals used or intended for use in improving animal production practices. Therefore, all research utilizing finfish requires development of animal use protocols and approval by a local Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). The relatively small aquaculture research program in ARS primarily deals with research concerning production of freshwater food fish grown under field conditions. Preparatory to large-scale production studies, small (i.e., tanks, raceways and aquaria) studies that address nutritional needs, genetic improvement, and disease abatement are conducted at some ARS locations. The ARS does not exert headquarters control over research protocols and procedures that best suit their research needs. The ARS specifically encourages development of care and use protocols that are based upon a combination of the needs of individual species as well as growth and harvesting conditions being modeled. The goal of this report is to make documentation easy for users of fish to reference. A guideline is presented in a user-friendly form rather than the usual "guidelines" form in which, for instance, everything concerning housing is in a single section with requirements for each species usually listed in a table in that section.