News of the WeekLABORATORY ANIMALS

Researchers Pained by Effort to Define Distress Precisely

Science  24 Nov 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5496, pp. 1474-1475
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5496.1474

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Summary

The U.S. Department of Agriculture requested comments earlier this year to help it decide whether to adopt a formal definition of "distress" as part of its responsibilities under the Animal Welfare Act. But the 2600 pieces of advice it received during a 4-month period that ended earlier this month suggest that its job won't be easy. The comments highlight a deep split between animal activists, who see the potential new regulations as a step toward eliminating all painful procedures, and most researchers, who say that the present system is working well and that no major changes are needed.