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Study reveals animal research bias in experimentation oversight committee membership
Date:4/1/2014

Denver Committees that are federally mandated to review, approve, and monitor the use of animals in experimentscalled Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC)are dominated by animal research interests, according to a study presented today (Wednesday April 2) at the 2014 Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R) IACUC Conference in Denver.

Using the federal Freedom of Information Act, researchers from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the University of CaliforniaSan Diego School of Medicine obtained the current IACUC rosters of the 25 largest institutional recipients of National Institutes of Health funds, which includes prominent universities and research centers.

The rosters revealed that, on average, 63 percent of IACUCs are composed of animal experimenters, 17 percent are veterinarians (most of whom conduct or facilitate animal experiments), 10 percent are nonscientist members of the institution, and 10 percent are members of the public. Ninety-seven percent of IACUC chairpersons are animal experimenters.

The preponderance of animal research interests on IACUCsessentially 80 percent of members are animal experimenters and laboratory veterinariansis potentially a contributing source of deficiencies in the IACUC oversight system documented by researchers and government audits, including committee bias in favor of approving as many as 98 percent of experimental protocols, in spite of their serious inadequacies. Such an imbalance also likely contributed to previous reports from the few public IACUC members that they feel their input, which is required by law, is marginalized. Because U.S. IACUCs employ a majority voting system, arithmetic alone places the ultimate authority of the committees in the hands of animal researchers.

"The bias we observed in favor of appointing animal experimenters and laboratory veterinarians to IACUCs means the decks are always stacked against anima
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Contact: Tasgola Bruner
tasgolab@peta.org
404-907-4172
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Source:Eurekalert

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