Ethical Guidelines for the Care and Use of Animals in Health Research in Nepal
Use of airmails is an important aspect of health research, which is the tool for acquiring knowledge for the benefit of suffering people as well as maintaining good health. Large number of animals is being used for health research, and these animals have the feeling of pain and suffering as human being. So, unnecessary exposure to pain and improper handling of the experimental animals should be avoided. It is human to treat the animals in humanly manner. Official pharmacopoeia prescribes the same quality of medicine to animals as for humans. This shows that we should treat animals in the similar manner as we treat human beings.
The use of animals for research in medicine is decreasing and effort is being made to replace animal experiment by other laboratory experiments. However it is not possible in all instances so we have to use animals. When it is extremely necessary to use animals, there should be a general guideline to treat them in proper manner. Care should be taken to subject the animals to as less pain as possible and if killing is necessary it should be done subjecting to less pain.
Research using animal is a wide field, and it is not possible to cover all aspects of animal use for experiment in one guideline. Nepal Health Research Council is established for improving public health by means of appropriate health research activities. The council issues guidelines in various areas to conduct research in proper manner. This “Ethical Guidelines for the Use of Animals in Health Research in Nepal” is targeted for the areas of public health and academic institutions were animals are used. There are other organizations using animals for other purposes. For them too, this guideline is useful, and it can serve as reference document.
This guideline clearly specifies the conditions when the animals can be used for research, what are the conditions to be observed and what are the technical requirements for such experiment. However, it does not try to give details of process involved, because it varies from experiment to experiment and institute to institute. Such guidelines have to be prepared by the institute for their own use.
The guideline is also focused on the use of animals in the teaching institutions. Though used in less number, many institutes use animals for the academic purposes. In such cases there is no formal approval of the research project, but the care, of the animal should be as per the guidelines. In many instances, we may use the, wild animals. Their use should not disturb the wild population, their habitat should not adversely affect he human population.
Hope that this guideline will be very helpful for the research community. The Executive Board of the Council is the main body to administer the provision of NHRC Act. The council may constitute other subcommittees for supporting and administering its responsibilities. So, there is Ethical Review Board for the Care and Use of Animals (ERBA) to recommend, research proposals where the use of animal is required and monitor during research.
Objectives of the Ethical Guidelines
- To provide guidelines and to emphasize the responsibilities of persons and institutions involved in health research involving animals.
- To ensure that the use of animals in health research is justified and humane.
- To ensure that the welfare of animals is always considered.
- To ensure care, housing, anti-cruelty and maintenance of research animals.
- To provide guidelines for the necessary steps to be taken to assure physical comfort, to avoid pain or distress and to assure the good health of all research animals.
- To provide guidelines for the accepted sources of animal acquisition.
- To minimize the number of animals used in health research.
- To assure the appropriate species, quality, and number of animals in health research.
- To promote the development and use of techniques. which replace animals for research.
- To ensure that all those involved in the use of animals in health research be appropriately qualified, act humanely and be protected.
- To minimize the discomfort, distress, and pain in connection with sound research.
- To ensure the appropriate use of sedation, analgesia, anesthesia and euthanasia.
- To provide guidelines for the ethical use of animals in educational settings.
- To provide a list of HMG Rules and Regulations that applies to the use of animals in health research. To ensure animal welfare as per the rules and regulations of HMG.