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Statement of Policy on the Use of Animals in Research and Teaching

Hope College, May 1998

Hope College recognizes the value of the use of animals in research and teaching. Advances in scientific and medical knowledge have improved human and animal health, have led to the alleviation of pain and suffering, and have saved countless lives. The College endorses the judicious use of animals in research and teaching, and ensures the humane and ethical treatment of all animals used in this manner.

The College accepts its legal and ethical responsibility to ensure that animals are spared unnecessary pain and distress and are not used needlessly. To this end, the College adheres to and enforces all applicable federal, state, and local regulations and guidelines pertaining to the use of animals in research and teaching. The Hope College Animal Care and Use Committee was constituted to provide supervision and review of all College projects involving the use of animals. This Committee is comprised of scientists, non-scientists, a member of the community, and a veterinarian. All project proposals for the use of animals are reviewed by the entire Committee to ensure that humane care and use guidelines are followed. The Committee has the responsibility to approve, require modifications of, or to prohibit a project's use of animals. The Committee also receives and investigates concerns expressed regarding the use of animals on the Campus.

The College acknowledges that vertebrate animals warrant moral concern and the use of animals requires responsibility for the stewardship of life that goes beyond immediate research or educational needs to include the acquisition, care, and disposition of the animals. Stewardship also involves sensitivity to the scientific requirements and community attitudes toward the use of animals. To this end, the College endorses the following basic principles as overarching guidelines for the use of animals in research and teaching:

Living creatures deserve respect. Research and teaching should make use of appropriate species and involve the minimum number required for valid scientific results. The use of computer simulations and modeling is encouraged, provided educational objectives are not compromised or weakened.

When animals are used, the assessment of the overall value of the investigation or exercise should include consideration of the range of societal good to be derived from the use of animals vs the potential for pain and/or distress in the animal(s).

Minimization of pain and distress are moral imperatives. Vertebrate animals are sentient and it should be considered that procedures that can cause pain or distress in humans have the potential to cause similar pain and distress in animals.

Hope College, through the Hope College Animal Care and Use Committee, maintains training programs for researchers, students, and animal care workers to ensure that any individuals working with animals are qualified to perform their tasks in a humane and scientifically appropriate manner and to recognize and report any compromise in the care and use of animals.