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USDA Considering Petition to Establish New Standards for Primates Used in Research

APV senior leadership is working with NABR in developing a response letter for this petition to postpone the deadline due to the complexity of the issues. We will also provide the membership in time a draft letter with talking points for you to create your own letters as individual unique letters will count in how USDA ultimately determines how to handle this.

John J Hasenau, 2015 APV President

APHIS has received a petition requesting that the USDA amend the Animal Welfare Act regulations to specify ethologically appropriate standards that researchers must adhere to in order to promote the psychological well-being of primates used in biomedical research.

USDA welcomes comments from interested members of the public so it can determine the most appropriate response to the petitioner. The USDA is seeking responses to the following questions: 

• Should APHIS amend Section 3.81 of the Animal Welfare Act regulations: 1) to require research facilities to construct and maintain an ethologically appropriate environment for primates; and 2) to specify the minimum standards that must be met in order for an environment to be considered ethologically appropriate?

• What constitutes an ethologically appropriate environment for a primate? Does this differ among primate species? If so, how does it differ?

• Are there any environmental conditions that make an environment ethologically inappropriate for a primate? If so, what are they? Do they differ among primate species?

• Does an ethologically appropriate environment for primates that are used in research differ from an ethologically appropriate environment for primates that are sold or exhibited? If so, how does it differ?

• Who should make the determination regarding the ethological appropriateness of the environment for primates at a particular research facility – the attending veterinarian for the facility, APHIS, or both parties? If both parties should jointly make such a determination, which responsibilities should fall to the attending veterinarian, and which should fall to APHIS?

If you would like to provide  comments, please click on this link, which will bring you to Docket No. APHIS-2014-0098. The deadline to submit a comment is June 30, 2015. All comments are available for public viewing.

USDA Animal Care upholds and enforces the Animal Welfare Act. This federal law and its associated regulations set the standards for humane care and treatment that must be provided for certain animals that are: exhibited to the public; bred for commercial sale; used in biomedical research; or transported commercially. Entities using regulated animals for regulated purposes must, among other things, provide adequate housing, sanitation, nutrition, water and veterinary care, and they must protect their animals from extreme weather and temperatures.

2015 Election Candidates Announced

Stay tuned for insturctions on how to vote in the 2015 APV Election. For biographical sketches of the candidates, please click the links below.

Vice President:
Curtis Klages
Marek Niekrasz

Christina Cruzen

Newsletter Editor:
Lorna Millen

Joyce Cohen
Mary Dickerson
Jennifer Lane
Elizabeth Magden
Courtney Sands
Jeff Stanton

Elizabeth R. Griffin Foundation: Beth@40 Celebration

Beth Griffin would be turning 40 on May 1, 2015. While there is little doubt amongs those who knew her that she would be well about making the world a better place, her unfortunate death at age 22 caused by an exposure to a macaque-borne B-virus denied her opportunity to contribute. Beth's family created the non-profit Elizabeth R Griffin Research Foundation (ERGF) to turn her tragedy into an opportunity to better the world by promoting safe research.

The ERGF is regarded as a significant non-governmental advocate of safe and secure research around the world. ERG has supported the expansion of professional biosafety training, occupational and public health colloquiums, the global development of biosafety associations, leadership development in biorisk management, and the expansion of public awareness in the importance of animal and public health research to economic security.

To celebrate what would be Beth's 40th, ERGF has launched a Beth@40 campaign to globally celebrate progress in biosafety and biosecurity. First, we are asking institutions around the world to have a 40 minute safety celebration in Beth's memory during the week of April 26 through May 2, 2015. We are encouraging that birthday cake be served and that photos of these events are shared with us through social media.

Next, Beth was a very active young woman so we want researchers and safety personnel around the world to join us in a virtual walk during that same week. The funds raised by this walk and through your donations will help ERGF continue support of the development and growth of biosafety and biosecurity around the world. The link for the walk is found here.

The Foundation is appreciative of the continued support it receives from friends around the world. Donations in Beth's honor can be made directly through the foundation's website or by mail to ERGF, 1225 N Eastman Rd PMB 275, Kingsport, TN 37664 USA. Bank transfer information is available upon request. ERGF is a 501.c.3 non-profit foundation. Donations qualify as tax deductible.

Performance Standards in the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals Roundtable: April 20-21, 2015

As anyone involved with care and use of research animals knows, designing and managing an effective program is a size-fits-all exercise.  Applying care and use guidelines requires interpretation, professional input, sound judgment, and a team approach, all of which are importance features of performance standards. The National Research Council’s ILAR Roundtable invites you to join this free workshop where experts from around the world will discuss established performance standards and how they might be improved to conform with today’s experimental environment.  We encourage you to take a brief survey to let us know what you’d like to learn at the workshop and to register today, as space is limited.

APV Transportation Statement

The Association of Primate Veterinarians (APV) supports the Reduction, Refinement and Replacement (3Rs) of animal usage and use of alternatives  in research.  For projects requiring use of animals where the suitable alternatives are not available, the APV encourages and supports all necessary safe and reliable modes of transportation for research animals, including air transport.  Domestic and international transportation of research animals is critical to biomedical research and is essential to maintaining progress towards advances in human and animal health.  Timely research conduct, utilizing the most relevant animal models, through appropriate transportation maintains the continued advances in human and animal health.  

Research animal transportation is conducted under highly supervised conditions, in accordance with strictly enforced and accepted standards, and in compliance with a variety of international agreements and government regulations.  Safe and appropriate transportation of laboratory animals is ensured by use of experienced and licensed animal couriers.  International transportation via commercially available aircraft is often the most expedient and humane method of transportation for  research animals.

APV strongly supports the continued transportation of live animals for research purposes with strict observance of the standards and regulations.

Request for Information on “Consideration of Sex as a Biological Variable in Biomedical Research"

In a May 14, 2014, Nature commentary (see Nature. 2014 May 15;509(7500):282-3.), NIH leadership stated an intention to develop and implement policies requiring applicants to consider sex as a biological variable in the design and analysis of NIH-funded research involving animals and cells. The NIH has since formed a trans-NIH working group to inform the development of these policies.

A Request for Information (RFI), NOT-OD-14-128: “Consideration of Sex As a Biological Variable in Biomedical Research” has just been released. This RFI seeks input from the research community and other interested stakeholders regarding the consideration of sex as a biological variable in biomedical research. The RFI will be open for comment through October 13th. 

Blogs by Drs. Sally Rocky and Janine Clayton about this RFI can also be accessed at the links below.

Please consider responding to this RFI! Help spread the word about this RFI by sharing it with your interested colleagues.

Symposium on Social Housing of Laboratory Animals

Don't miss out on the opportunity to discuss social housing of laboratory animals with the experts and your peers while taking in some beautiful fall weather in Colorado. Register today for the October 5-6 Symposium on Social Housing of Laboratory Animals at the University of Colorado, Denver. We have another excellent program planned this year, bringing together experts in animal behavior and welfare to address common issues in trying to achieve the mandate for social housing of social species. The agenda for both days is included below, and includes breakout sessions both days where participants will have the opportunity to discuss the challenges and special issues they are facing at their own institutions with the experts and their peers.

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