DOI: 10.3390/ani14060846 ISSN: 2076-2615

Animal Research Regulation: Improving Decision-Making and Adopting a Transparent System to Address Concerns around Approval Rate of Experiments

David Mawufemor Azilagbetor, David Shaw, Bernice Simone Elger
  • General Veterinary
  • Animal Science and Zoology

The use of nonhuman animals in biomedical research is regulated under stringent conditions, not only in response to societal attitudes towards animal experimentation but also because ethical responsibility in scientific research requires researchers and veterinarians to be more invested and aim to improve the welfare of animals used for experiments. Analyses of animal research oversight reveal the frequent approval of experiments, and the approval of some experiments has raised and continues to raise public concerns. Societal compliance is required for a consensus-based approach to animal research policy, prompting the need to have transparent discussions about oversight and the frequency of approvals. We discuss how frequent approval may be perceived and why it seems problematic from a societal perspective: the regulatory process exists to approve only legitimate experiments. Although some experiments remain unacceptable irrespective of their harm–benefit ratios, almost all experiments are approved. We explain some possible legitimate reasons for frequent approval and how the review process could be leading to the approval of illegitimate studies. To ensure transparency and improve public trust and understanding of oversight, we propose the adoption of a platform to inform society about how unethical experiments are screened out.

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