Animals in scientific research
The Animal & Birds (Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes) Rules state that any research facility that uses animals for scientific purposes must first obtain a licence from NParks/AVS.
To be licensed, research facilities must comply with the Guidelines on the Care and use of Animals for Scientific Purposes set forth by the National Advisory Committee for Laboratory Animal Research (NACLAR). AVS must also be allowed to carry out inspection of the research facilities.
Overview of NACLAR
NACLAR was established in 2003 to develop national guidelines for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes in Singapore. The committee comprises representatives from academia, research organisations, AVS, veterinarians, the community, as well as legal and ethical specialists.
The three "R"s principle
The NACLAR Guidelines on the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes was released in October 2004. These guidelines cover all aspects of the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, including use of them in teaching, field trials, environmental studies, research, diagnosis, product testing, and the production of biological products.
The aim of the NACLAR guidelines is to promote humane and responsible care and use of animals for scientific purposes in Singapore.
In essence, the guidelines are based on the principles of the three “R”s – Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement. These refer to:
- The replacement of animals with alternative methods.
- The reduction of the number of animals used.
- The refinement of projects and techniques used to minimise impact on animals.
The guidelines outline the responsibilities of institutions, investigators, and persons involved in the care and use of animals for scientific purposes. All research facilities which house and use animals for scientific purposes will have to operate in accordance with these guidelines in order to be issued with a licence from NParks/AVS.
The guidelines also describe the operational aspects pertaining to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). The IACUC is responsible for the oversight and evaluation of an institution’s animal care and use programmes, and ensuring that the care and use of animals for scientific purposes and all animal experimental procedures are in compliance with the guidelines. All institutions with research facilities are required to establish their own IACUC to assume this function.
The last section of the guidelines outlines training scope and requirements for users of animals and animal institution personnel. This section includes the scope of the core curriculum and relevant core competencies, such as special courses on animal procedures. All users of animals for research are required to undergo appropriate training before carrying out any experiments involving animals. It will assist IACUCs in determining the scope and depth of education training programmes that will also meet NACLAR institutional needs and requirements.
The NACLAR guidelines are available here.