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USDA Seeks Comments on Animal Welfare Act Research Regulations
The USDA is considering replacing or modifying the sytem used to classify animal pain and distress for animals used for research, tests, experiments or teaching.  USDA is also considering creating an Animal Welfare Act definition for the word "distress."

"Although the word distress is used throughout the regulations, there is not a written definition included in those regulations, " said W. Ron DeHaven, deputy administrator for animal care with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, a part of USDA's marketing and regulatory programs mission area.  "We are also interested in comments regarding replacement or modification of the current system used to classify animal pain and distress experienced by lab animals."

USDA will seek public comment on these issues in order to determine whether the regulations should be changed.  There are a number of pain and distress classification systems in use in various contries around the world.  

USDA is particularly interested in comments addressing the following five questions:

Would adding a definition for distress to the regulations help institutions using animals for research, testing or teaching better recognize, minimize and report animals distress;
If a definition for distress is added to the regulations, what key elements should be included in that definition;
What are the benefits and limitations of our pain and distress classification systems;
Should our animal pain and distress classification system be modified or replaced?  If so, what specific modification or alternate classification systems should we consider; and
Should animal pain and distress be prospectively or retrospectively reported?

Notice of this action is published in the July 10th Federal Register.

APHIS documents published in the Federal Register, and related information, including the names of organizations and individuals who have commented on APHIS dockets, were available on the Internet but the original links no longer work.

Consideration will be given to comments received on or before September 8th.  Please send an original and three copies to Docket No. 00-0005-1, Regulatory, Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Suite 3C03, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD. 20737-1238

Comments received may be reviewed at USDA, Room 1141, South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays.  Persons wishing to review comments are requested to call ahead on (202) 690-2817 to facilitate entry into the comment reading room.

PEOPLE, LETS NOT FORGET, THEY DO TESTING ON EQUINES!

Think about this... is fear defined as distress?
Will they take into consideration the clinical aspects of distress and pain, such as elevation of respiration rate and heart rate?  Please send in any comments you have on this matter as indicated above.

You can make a difference!