International Guiding Principles for Biomedical Research Involving Animals

views updated


Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS), World Health Organization



The purpose of the guiding principles, approved in 1984, is to provide a conceptual and ethical framework for whatever regulations governing animal research a country chooses to adopt. The guiding principles reflect consultation with a large, representative sample of the international biomedical community as well as with representatives of animal welfare groups. They have gained general international acceptance and have served as a model for similar guidelines in specific countries, including the United States and Canada.

Basic Principles

  1. The advancement of biological knowledge and the development of improved means for the protection of the health and wellbeing both of man and of animals require recourse to experimentation on intact live animals of a wide variety of species.
  2. Methods such as mathematical models, computer simulation and in vitro biological systems should be used wherever appropriate.
  3. Animal experiments should be undertaken only after due consideration of their relevance for human or animal health and the advancement of biological knowledge.
  4. The animals selected for an experiment should be of an appropriate species and quality, and the minimum number required, to obtain scientifically valid results.
  5. Investigators and other personnel should never fail to treat animals as sentient, and should regard their proper care and use and the avoidance or minimization of discomfort, distress, or pain as ethical imperatives.
  6. Investigators should assume that procedures that would cause pain in human beings cause pain in other vertebrate species although more needs to be known about the perception of pain in animals.
  7. Procedures with animals that may cause more than momentary or minimal pain or distress should be performed with appropriate sedation, analgesia, or anaesthesia in accordance with accepted veterinary practice. Surgical or other painful procedures should not be performed on unanaesthetized animals paralysed by chemical agents.
  8. Where waivers are required in relation to the provisions of article VII, the decisions should not rest solely with the investigators directly concerned but should be made, with due regard to the provisions of articles IV, V, and VI, by a suitably constituted review body. Such waivers should not be made solely for the purposes of teaching or demonstration.
  9. At the end of, or when appropriate during, an experiment, animals that would otherwise suffer severe or chronic pain, distress, discomfort, or disablement that cannot be relieved should be painlessly killed.
  10. The best possible living conditions should be maintained for animals kept for biomedical purposes. Normally the care of animals should be under the supervision of veterinarians having experience in laboratory animal science. In any case, veterinary care should be available as required.
  11. It is the responsibility of the director of an institute or department using animals to ensure that investigators and personnel have appropriate qualifications or experience for conducting procedures on animals. Adequate opportunities shall be provided for in-service training, including the proper and humane concern for the animals under their care.

About this article

International Guiding Principles for Biomedical Research Involving Animals

Updated About content Print Article


International Guiding Principles for Biomedical Research Involving Animals