Institutional animal care and use committees: A new set of clothes for the emperor?

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 13 (2):145-158 (1988)
According to some proponents and critics of research using animals, the greatest hope for improved conditions for laboratory animals is to be found in the system of self-regulation called for by recent legislation and the NIH's revised policy. This article explores advantages and disadvantages of relying on "Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees" to subject research proposals to ethical scrutiny. Among the advantages discussed are: institutional dialogue concerning the ethics of research; inclusion of perspectives of nonscientists in such dialogues; and the possibility of improved research proposals. Despite these advantages, I argue that serious problems with the committee system may limit the degree to which conditions for animals are actually improved. Disadvantages discussed include: limitations in the scope of the review process, and built-in bias in favor of certain philosophical stances in the composition of the committees. Keywords: laboratory animals, ethics review committees, self-regulation, NIH policy, Animal Welfare Act CiteULike Connotea What's this?
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DOI 10.1093/jmp/13.2.145
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