Animal Ethics and Care for Domestic Animals in Scientific Experiments
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Animal Ethics and Care for Domestic Animals in Scientific Experiments. By Chalong Wachirapakorn, Ph.D. Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Khon Kaen University.

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Animal Ethics and Care for Domestic Animals in Scientific Experiments

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Animal Ethics and Care for Domestic Animals in Scientific Experiments


Chalong Wachirapakorn, Ph.D.

Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Khon Kaen University

Domestic animals are raised by human in several purposes such as for consumption (meat, milk, wool, etc.) for work and for companion (pet).





Domestic animals are raised by human in several purposes such as for consumption (meat, milk, wool, etc.) for work and for companion (pet).


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General Principles for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes

1. Experiments on animals may be performed only when they are essential to obtain and establish significant information relevant to the understanding of humans or animals, to the maintenance and improvement of human or animal health and welfare, to the improvement of animal management or production, or to the achievement of educational objectives.

2. People who use animals for scientific purposes have an obligation to treat the animals with respect and to consider their welfare as an essential factor when planning and conducting experiments.

3. Investigators have direct and ultimate responsibility for all matters relating to the welfare of the animals they use in experiments.

4. Techniques which replace or complement animal experiments must be used wherever possible.

5. Experiments using animals may be performed only after a decision has been made that they are justified, weighing the scientific or educational value of the experiment against the potential effects on the welfare of the animals.

6. Animals chosen must be of an appropriate species with suitable biological characteristics, including behavioural characteristics, genetic constitution and nutritional, microbiological and general health status.

7. Animals must not be taken from their natural habitats if animals bred in captivity are available and suitable.

8. Experiments must be scientifically valid, and must use no more than the minimum number of animals needed.

9. Experiments must use the best available scientific techniques and must be carried out only by persons competent in the procedures they perform.

10. Experiments must not be repeated unnecessarily.

11. Experiments must be as brief as possible.

12. Experiments must be designed to avoid pain or distress to animals. If this is not possible, pain or distress must be minimised.

13. Pain and distress cannot be evaluated easily in animals and therefore investigators must assume that animals experience pain in a manner similar to humans. Decisions regarding the animals' welfare must be based on this assumption unless there is evidence to the contrary.

14. Experiments which may cause pain or distress of a kind and degree for which anaesthesia would normally be used in medical or veterinary practice must be carried out using anaesthesia appropriate to the species and the procedure. When it is not possible to use anaesthesia, such as in certain toxicological or animal production experiments or in animal models of disease, the end-point of the experiments must be as early as possible to avoid or minimise pain or distress to the animals.

15. Investigators must avoid using death as an experimental end-point whenever possible.

16. Analgesic and tranquilliser usage must be appropriate for the species and should at least parallel usage in medical or veterinary practice.

17. An animal which develops signs of pain or distress of a kind and degree not predicted in the proposal, must have the pain or distress alleviated promptly. If severe pain cannot be alleviated without delay, the animal must be killed humanely forthwith. Alleviation of such pain or distress must take precedence over finishing an experiment.

18. Neuromuscular blocking agents must not be used without appropriate general anaesthesia, except in animals where sensory awareness has been eliminated. If such agents are used, continuous or frequent intermittent monitoring of paralysed animals is essential to ensure that the depth of anaesthesia is adequate to prevent pain or distress.

19. Animals must be transported, housed, fed, watered, handled and used under conditions which are appropriate to the species and which ensure a high standard of care.

20. The care and use of animals for all scientific purpose in Australia must be in accord with these principles and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1985.

Resources and Links

Copies of all documents can be found at and downloaded from:

Pain management

A Reference Source for Analgesia & Analgesics in Animals (USDA)Animal Ethics Infolink (Animal Research Review Panel, NSW)Drug Dosage (includes signs of pain in different species; University of Rochester Medical Center)Guidelines on anesthesia and analgesia in laboratory animals (University of South Florida)Tables by species (NIH)Ways of Minimising Pain and Distress in Animals in Research (NHMRC)

Other resources on pain management

Flecknell, P.A. (1996). Laboratory Animal Anaesthesia -A Practical Introduction for Research Workers and Technicians. 2nd.Ed. Academic Press, London UK. ISBN 0-12-260361-3. Kohn, D.F., Wixson, S., White, W.J., Benson, G.J. (1966) Eds. Anaesthesia and Analgesia in Laboratory Animals. Academic Press, Orlando, USA. Morton, DB., Griffiths, PHM. (1985) Guidelines on the recognition of pain, distress and discomfort in experimental animals and an hypothesis for assessment. Veterinary Record, 116: 431-436. National Research Council (1992). Recognition and Alleviation of Pain and Distress in Laboratory Animals. National Academy of Sciences, Washington. ISBN 0-309-04275-5

Assessment and monitoring

Recognising and assessing pain, suffering and distress in laboratory animals: a survey of current practice in the UK with recommendations (RSPCA; includes sample post-op monitoring sheets)Sample rodent post-operative monitoring record (University of Sydney, Health@Sydney)Welfare assessment


Euthanasia:The word "euthanasia" comes straight out of the Greek -- "eu", goodly or well + "thanatos", death = the good death -- and for 18th-century writers in England that was what euthanasia meant, a "good" death, a welcome way to depart quietly and well from life.

The 2000 Report of the AVMA Panel on EuthanasiaReport of the ACLAM Task Force on Rodent EuthanasiaCanadian Council on Animal Care. CCAC Programs - Guidelines - Guide to the Care and Use of Experimental Animals Volume 1 - Chapter XIICode of Practice for the Humane Killing of Animals under Schedule 1 to the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (UK)Euthanasia – Website of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, University of Iowa

Other resources on euthanasia

Reilly JS Ed. (1993) Euthanasia of Animals Used for Scientific Purposes. ANZCCART, Adelaide. UFAW/WSPCA (1989). Euthanasia of Amphibians and Reptiles. UFAW, Potters Bar Herts.UK ISBN 0 900767LASA (1996/97) Recommendations for euthanasia of experimental animals, Laboratory Animals, 30: 293-316; 31: 1-32. Copies available from website JS Ed. (1993) Euthanasia of Animals Used for Scientific Purposes. ANZCCART, Adelaide. UFAW/WSPCA (1989). Euthanasia of Amphibians and Reptiles. UFAW, Potters Bar Herts.UK ISBN 0 900767

Surgical procedures

Brown MJ, Pearson PT, Tomson FN (1993) Guidelines for animal surgery in research and teaching. American Journal of Veterinary Research, 9: 1544-1559 Cunliffe-Beamer TL (1993) Applying principles of aseptic surgery to rodents. AWIC Newsletter, 4: 3-6 Harrison, F.A. (1995). Surgical Techniques in Experimental Farm Animals. Oxford University Press: Oxford, New York, Tokyo. ISBN 0 19 834258 5Waynforth, H.B. & Flecknell, Paul A. (1992). Experimental and Surgical Techniques in the Rat. Second edition. Academic Press: California, London. ISBN 0 12 738851 6

Blood collection

BVA/FRAME/RSPCA/UFAW, (1993) Removal of blood from laboratory mammals and birds. Laboratory Animals, 27: 1-22. Copies available from website

Experimental neoplasia (the growth of new tissue, esp. the formation of neoplasms)

UKCCCR (1997) Guidelines for the Welfare of Animals in Experimental Neoplasia. 2nd.Ed. UKCCCR, 20 Park Crescent London, WIN 4AL, UK.

Alternative methods

FRAME (UK) includes listings of alternative methods published in each issue of the journal ATLA. National Library of Medicine (USA) publishes a regular annotated bibliography on alternatives to the use of animals in biomedical research

An example of care and techniques to be used in domestic animal experiments

Feeding trials:

Administration of substances or organisms:

Surgical procedures:

Removal of tissues, fluid or others:

Attachment of devices:

Feeding trials:

Pen area: individual vs group

Feeding methods:

Group feeding

Individual feeding

Feed to meet animal requirement


Clean & Available at all time


as short as possible

Digestion trials:

Conventional techniques:

Total collection techniques

- metabolism cage

Alternative techniques:

External/Internal indicators

In vitro digestibility

In vitro gas production techniques etc.

In situ technique

Digestion trials:

Animal used:

Intact animal

Fistulated animal

Rumen cannulated animal

Duodenal & Ileum cannulated animal


Metabolism cage (crate)

Administration of substances or organisms:



Organic compounds:


Surgical techniques:









Removal of tissues, fluid or others:

Blood sampling:

Jugular vein

Cogcegeal vein

Liver sampling:


Meat sampling:

Fluid sampling:

Stomach tube

Attachment of devices:

Urinary catheter:

Female Urine collector:An apparatus that allows urine collection from female cattle is described. A vinyl bag, which fits over the vulva, has a hose attached at the bottom to direct urine flow to a collection bottle. The bag deflects faeces into collection trays, thus preventing urine contamination. The bag is attached to the animal with 'Velcro' strips glued on with contact cement. The main advantages of this device are the lack of a cumbersome harness, its lightness and the ease of detachment and replacement (if required).

Slaughtering techniques

Cracking the skull: prohibitted

Captive bolt stunning: in cattle/buffalo /swine

Electrical stunning: swine / goat / sheep

Carbon dioxide stunning:

Gun shot: cattle /swine

Cervical dislocation: Poultry

Thank you very much for attention

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