Morton DB, Hawkins P, Bevan R et al. Refinements in telemetry procedures. Seventh report of the BVAAWF/FRAME/RSPCA/UFAW Joint Working Group on Refinement, Part A. Lab Anim 2003; 37(4):261-99.
This report is intended to help scientists, animal technicians, veterinarians and members of ethics or animal care and use committees to refine all aspects of telemetry procedures, from the project planning stage through to reporting finished research. It is published in two sections; this part (A) which is concerned primarily with procedures, and Part B (Hawkins et al. 2004) which addresses refinements in husbandry for rodents, dogs and non-human primates used in telemetry studies. It is strongly recommended that both reports are used together to ensure that suffering is minimized and welfare improved throughout these animals’ lives.
Although this report was produced in the UK, it is intended for an international readership and refers to international legislation on animal use as well as to the UK Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (A(SP)A). Some of the statements and recommendations are made with reference to ‘cost/benefit analysis’ which is critical in the implementation of the UK Act. Not all animal research regulations mandate a cost/benefit analysis, but it is an extremely important concept and one that many people and establishments employ, regardless of whether or not it is a requirement of their national legislation.
The report is focused primarily on ‘costs’ or ‘harms’ caused by procedures, but it is important to remember that these can be exacerbated or even exceeded by inadequate or unsympathetic catching, handling, transport, husbandry, socialization and euthanasia. It is essential that all of these potential harms are considered in full and, similarly, that the benefits which may accrue from each project involving telemetry, including their potential application, should be subject to critical scrutiny. This report, therefore, aims to provide guidance for the scientists, technicians and veterinarians who will be conducting procedures on the animals involved and caring for them, in addition to those regulatory bodies that ‘require’ telemetered data (see ICH 2000) and those licensing authorities or ethics committees responsible for granting permission for research projects.