On May 5, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) responded to a Request for Information (RFI) issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on identifying and reducing regulatory burdens. The RFI sought feedback from the community on USDA regulations that could be modified, expanded, streamlined, or repealed to make their programs less burdensome.
In a letter to USDA, FASEB identified two approaches that would reduce burden associated with animal research without affecting the safety or well-being of laboratory animals. First, the Federation recommended reducing the frequency of review for animal use protocols from annually to once every three years to align with the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. This change would reduce the workload of investigators and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.
FASEB also encouraged USDA to eliminate the implied requirement for keyword searches when evaluating alternatives to procedures in which there may be more than slight or momentary pain or distress to an animal. Instead, the Federation urged USDA to adopt a more flexible approach, allowing investigators to satisfy the requirement in a variety of ways, including brief descriptions explaining why alternative procedures would not accomplish the experimental objective.
These comments are akin to ones that FASEB submitted to USDA in 2015 in response to a similar RFI.