Our series of RSPCA-led Expert Working Groups has produced guidance on reducing (and ideally avoiding) severe suffering in potentially severe procedures including sepsis, rheumatoid arthritis, experimental autoimmune encephalitis (EAE) and spinal cord injury. Each group includes scientists, animal technologists and lab animal veterinarians from industry and academia, to bring a range of expertise and perspectives and ensure all the recommendations are feasible and will achieve real results.
The next topic in the series is bone marrow irradiation and reconstitution and the group is just being set up – we are aiming to finalise the new guidance in 2022.
We are delighted to present the RSPCA’s new ‘Focus on Severe Suffering’ web resource, with our colleagues at the Laboratory Animal Science Association (LASA), Laboratory Animals Veterinary Association (LAVA) and the Institute of Animal Technology (IAT). We all share the aim of reducing suffering and improving the welfare of laboratory animals for as long as their use continues, and we want this resource to help all those involved in the care and use of lab animals to reduce or avoid ‘severe’ suffering.
Whatever your role and wherever you are in the world, we hope that this resource will inform, guide and inspire you. Many of the principles – like the Roadmap – apply to any level of severity, so you can use them to apply refinement in general and feed into your establishment’s Culture of Care. Please use these pages, share them with colleagues and tell us what you achieve.
AVOIDING AND REDUCING SEVERE SUFFERING
Avoiding and reducing severe suffering helps to fulfil legal requirements, reduce ethical concerns and improve scientific quality – this website will help you to achieve this.
Practical ways to reduce or avoid severe suffering include: