Professional Standards and Certification Programs
Scientists’ commitment to the ethical treatment of animals is not new.
Individual researchers concerned about the welfare of laboratory animals
were the first to set voluntary care standards in the early 1900s, long before federal
laws and regulations were instituted. The first
federal guidelines for research animal care published in 1963, the original
Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals , were based on standards
developed by veterinarians and other scientists because the success of their work
depended on consistent, high quality care of the animals needed in the laboratory. As is common in medicine,
professional standards in the form of codes and policies adopted by specialty groups
have been established for many fields that rely on animal research.
Numerous academic and professional societies have continued to improve their
standards governing animal research in light of new scientific information as well
as evolving legal requirements. Please see the menu
at right for representative examples of current professional standards for various
types of research.
Since proper animal care is so important to research results, the American Association
for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) was founded in 1950.
Today the organization has more than 12,000 members ranging from veterinarians
to laboratory technicians and research administrators. AALAS
is dedicated to developing and maintaining the highest standards of animal care
and to fostering these standards through education and certification programs for
animal technicians and animal facility managers.
Veterinarians recognized the specialty of laboratory animal medicine in 1957 with
the creation of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM) to administer
the related certification program. The American Society
of Laboratory Animal Practitioners (ASLAP) came into being after passage of the
Animal Welfare Act to help define among other things the meaning of “adequate veterinary
care” as required by the Act. In response to the special
needs of nonhuman primates, the Association of Primate Veterinarians was formed
as a forum for sharing knowledge and experience. For
additional details regarding specialty groups and their certifications programs,
please refer to the right-hand menu.