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Alternatives to Laboratory Animals - ATLA

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Humane killing to be discussed

ratAmong the most widely used animals in research are rats and mice, but scientists are becoming increasingly concerned that existing methods of euthanising them are not humane.


FRAME accepts that alternatives to the use of animals are not available for all research, but where animals have to be used they should be treated in a way that minimises harm and stress.


One of the most commonly used systems is to make them unconscious with carbon dioxide gas before using another method to finish the process. That might be asphyxiation with more gas, breaking their necks, or decapitating them.


But there is evidence that rats find carbon dioxide extremely unpleasant and that makes the process very stressful for them.  Other gases affect them less, and the relative harm from different methods will be discussed at the conference.


The meeting, arranged by the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) will take place on Friday (August 9) in Newcastle Upon Tyne.  Attendees will debate the most humane ways to kill rodents, as well as other species.


A sharp rise in the number of fish used in experiments has also raised concerns about the most humane ways to dispatch them. It is expected that the meeting will provide consensus on the most humane ways to deal with various species.


Archived Aug 8