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NIH Record

NIEHS Keeps AAALAC Accreditation

Celebrating 25 years of successful compliance with animal welfare regulations, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences' animal research program has been granted "continued full accreditation" by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) International, a private nonprofit organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals used for scientific research purposes through a voluntary accreditation program.

NIEHS has participated in the program since 1972. "The fact that we received full accreditation without a single suggestion for improvement is quite an accomplishment," noted Dr. Diane Forsythe, a veterinarian who is chief of the institute's Comparative Medicine Branch. "This award would not have been possible without the full cooperation of our government employees and contract workers."

To earn accreditation, a research program must undergo periodic internal assessments and rigorous evaluations by independent panels of experts from around the world. An accredited program must conform with the principles outlined in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (National Research Council, 1996).

"Accreditation is a sign of quality -- it symbolizes an institution's commitment to responsible animal care and use," said Dr. John Miller, formerly of NIH and now executive director of AAALAC International. "At the same time, it enhances the overall quality of science and promotes the validity of the research for which the animals are used."

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