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The Sleep Research Society (SRS) and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), acting together as the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS), are professional societies for basic and clinical researchers and clinicians interested in the mechanisms of sleep and its disorders. We endorse and support the appropriate and responsible use of animals as experimental subjects. Knowledge generated by research on animals has led to important advances in the understanding of diseases and in the development of better treatments that reduce suffering in humans and animals. Continued progress in understanding the neural mechanisms of sleep and wakefulness and the influence of behavioral state changes on other bodily functions requires investigation of complex processes in the living body. Because no adequate alternatives exist, much of this research must be done on animal subjects. APSS takes the position that biomedical scientists have an obligation to contribute to this progress through responsible and humane research on animals.
Several functions of APSS are related to the use of animals in research. A number of these involve decisions about research conducted by our members, including the scheduling of scientific presentations at the Annual Meeting, the review and publication of original research papers in SLEEP and the defense of members whose ethical use of animals in research is questioned by animal rights activists. APSS's support for the research of individual members defines a relationship between APSS and its members.
The purpose of this document is to outline the policy that guides that relationship. Compliance with the following policy will be an important factor in determining the suitability of research for presentation at the Annual Meeting or for publication in SLEEP and in situations where APSS or its member societies are asked to provide public and active support for a member whose use of animals in research has been questioned.
The responsibility for implementing the policy in each of these areas rests with the relevant administrative body (Program Committee, Publications Committee, Editorial Board and Committee on Animals in Research, respectively) in consultation with the Boards of Directors of ASDA and SRS.
Sleep research uses complicated, often invasive methods, each of which is associated with different problems, risks and specific technical considerations. An experimental method that would be deemed inappropriate for one kind of research may be the method of choice for another kind of research. It is, therefore, impossible for APSS to define specific policies and procedures for the care and use of all research animals and for the design and conduct of every experiment.
The U.S. Public Health Service's Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (PHS policy) and the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (the Guide) describe general policies and procedures designed to ensure the humane and appropriate use of live vertebrate animals in all forms of biomedical research. APSS finds the policies and procedures set forth in the PHS policy and the Guide to be both necessary and sufficient to ensure a high standard of animal care and use and adopts them as its official Policy on the Use of Animals in Sleep Research (APSS policy). All ASDA and SRS members are expected to conduct their animal research in compliance with this policy. Members are required to verify that they have done so when submitting abstracts for presentation at the APSS Annual Meeting or manuscripts for publication in SLEEP. Adherence to the APSS policy is also an important step toward receiving help from APSS in responding to questions about a member's use of animals in research.
An important element of the APSS's policy and that of governmental bodies is the establishment of a local committee that is charged with reviewing and approving all proposed animal care and use procedures. In addition to scientists experienced in research involving animals and a veterinarian, the membership of this local committee should include a nonscientist and a person who is not affiliated with the member's institution in any other way. In reviewing a proposed use of animals, the committee should evaluate the adequacy of institutional policies, animal husbandry, veterinary care and the physical plant. The committee should pay specific attention to proposed procedures for animal procurement, quarantine and stabilization, separation by species, disease diagnosis and treatment, anesthesia and analgesia, surgery and post-surgical care, and euthanasia. The review committee also should ensure that procedures involving live vertebrate animals are designed and performed with due consideration of their relevance to human or animal health, the advancement of knowledge or the good of society. This review and approval of a member's use of live vertebrate animals in research by a local committee is an essential component of the APSS policy. For assistance in developing appropriate animal care and use procedures and establishing a local review committee, call APSS and consult the documents recommended at the end of this section.
In addition to complying with the policy described above, APSS members who reside in North America must also adhere to all relevant national, state or local laws and/or regulations that govern the use of animals in sleep research. Thus, U.S. members must observe the U.S. Animal Welfare Act (as amended in 1985) and its implementing regulations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Canadian members must abide by the January 1993 Guide to the Care and Use of Experimental Animals. Members in Mexico must comply with the "Seventh Title of the Regulations of the General Law of Health Regarding Health Research." In addition to complying with the laws and regulations of their home countries, foreign members of APSS should adhere to the official policies outlined here.
The following principles, based largely on the PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, are a useful guide to designing and implementing experimental procedures involving laboratory animals:
Exceptions to these principles require careful consideration and should only be made by an appropriate review group such as an institutional animal care and use committee.