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VETERINARIAN, ANIMAL WELFARE EXPERT SPEAKS TO RESEARCHERS AT K-STATE'S EMERGING DISEASES CONFERENCE ABOUT BEST PRACTICES THAT KEEP ANIMALS, RESEARCHERS SAFE

 

by Erinn Barcomb-Peterson

 

Researchers using animals, even those in biocontainment, are required to do more to ensure the animals' comfort than ever before, according to a veterinarian and animal research accreditation expert who spoke recently at Kansas State University.

James Swearengen with the Association for Assessment and Accreditation for Laboratory Animal Care International, spoke to researchers from around the world. They were at K-State on Nov. 14 for the Emerging Infections Symposium: A Tribute to the One Medicine, One Health Concept.

The symposium commemorated the opening of Juergen Richt's laboratory at K-State. Richt, the Regents Distinguished Professor of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, is an internationally known veterinary microbiologist. He also is a Kansas Bioscience Authority Eminent Scholar.

The Kansas Bioscience Authority also was a major sponsor of the symposium, as was the Heartland BioAgro Consortium, which is leading an effort to bring the National Agro and Bio-Defense Facility to Kansas. K-State is one of the five finalists for the relocation of the federal institute for animal health.

In Swearengen's presentation about standards for the care of research animals, he discussed the use of analgesics. As recently as 20 years ago, Swearengen said that accrediting agencies were less likely to require researchers use analgesics on animal subjects if the researchers thought that the medications would alter the results.

Now, he said, researchers have to make a stronger case against using analgesics in research. In studies of inflammation, for instance, Swearengen said it is possible that analgesics could alter study results.