Guest article from Altasciences. Highlighting the 3Rs, & Animal Welfare
Altasciences’ role in the drug development process includes working with animals and understanding how they are crucial to advancing human and animal medical practices. This role comes with the significant responsibility of ensuring the welfare of research animals, a responsibility that Altasciences takes extremely seriously.
Adherence to the 3Rs philosophy should be the cornerstone of every Animal Welfare program. At Altasciences, we emphasize that welfare is about more than the animal you see in front of you. Making welfare-based decisions is also about the animals you don’t see, and an optimal 3Rs program encompasses both aspects.
Altasciences has built a well-designed, comprehensive, consistently-applied, animal welfare program. Early and transparent 3Rs communication with our sponsors is the first step in the success of our animal welfare program, and all departments continue to work with our clients throughout the study to ensure we capitalize on every opportunity to exceed 3R standards. Although we cannot eliminate the use of animals in our search for life-saving therapies, Altasciences is committed to doing everything possible to minimize the number of animals used and to ensure that the research animals in our care are treated with dignity and the utmost respect.
We are never complacent and have implemented a process in which our onsite Animal Welfare Officer reviews and improves our program on an ongoing basis. Every study is assigned a scientific expert – ensuring appropriate species selection and enhancing overall study design to maximize information gained from each animal. Study designs and programs are reviewed to ensure we use the minimum number of animals required to meet regulatory requirements for safety testing. Study designs include considerations for socialization, enrichment, and caging type. Altasciences’ on-site behaviorist evaluates the temperament and behavioral profile of each research animal to guide in animal selection for study. Research animals are acclimated to all handling procedures prior to start of study and positive reinforcement is used after all potentially stressful events for all species.
After study completion, whenever possible, our research animals may become part of our animal adoption program, be transferred to our onsite training colony, be placed onto other appropriate studies if scientifically feasible, or even be transferred to external breeding colonies.
Although eliminating the use of animals in the search for life-saving therapies is not yet possible, Altasciences is committed to doing everything possible to minimize the number of animals used and to ensure that the animals used are treated with care, dignity, and the utmost respect.
All aspects of an animal research program play a role in maintaining an exceptional animal welfare program – from animal procurement to study implementation to animal disposition to study reporting. As part of our mission to support the drug development process, we respect the value of life (for all living creatures) and the immense contribution animals make towards the medical advancements for all of us, our families, our pets, and those in our communities. We honor the ethical and moral obligations we are given as a result of this responsibility. Altasciences considers the humane and appropriate care of all animals a high priority. We have been vigilant in building a solid team of professionals to care for and support the animals at our facilities, at all times, and recognize that the success of our welfare program relies upon staff at every level making a commitment to drive the program forward. At Altasciences, we acknowledge that it may be the animals we never see that are the most important measure of our success!