Code of Ethics
In order to make certain that the animals are treated in a humane and ethical way, researchers are regulated and monitored by various government agencies. The US Department of Agriculture is responsible for enforcing the Animal Welfare Act and conducts unannounced inspections of research facilities. If the research is a grant recipient, the National Institutes of Health would be responsible for the regulation as well. The American Association for the Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) is responsible for setting the standards for research institutions. Any institution that conducts research is required to have an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) that reviews research protocol, included on the committee must be a veterinarian and a community member not affiliated with the institution. Before animals are obtained or research begun, it is the committees responsibility approve protocol that includes adherence to Federal guidelines (APA, 2001). If the research is in the field, researchers should keep disturbance to the population to a minimum and respect the surrounding environment (APA, 2001).
Psychological research is not only under regulation by various agencies, but must also follow the ethical guidelines set forth and enforced by the American Psychological Association’s Committee on Animal Research and Ethics (CARE). The principle of ethics include the justification of research, acquisition, care, housing, use and disposition of animals and should be in compliance with Federal and regulatory agencies (APA, 2001). One of the first ethical issues addressed relates to research having a scientific purpose. Researchers must outline that the experiment is one that will increase knowledge in the areas of development, evolution, maintenance, alteration, control or biological behavior. Any personnel involved with the research must have familiarity with the guidelines of the experiment and also know that the animals well being is a major concern in the conducting of the experiment (APA, 2001).
Once the research has been deemed necessary for scientific benefits, now the next step is to acquire animals for the experiment. According to the APA ethical principles, animals may not be bred by the researcher for the experiment, but must be acquired lawfully. If an animal is captured from the wild, it must be done in a humane way. When transporting the animal, proper conditions should include adequate feeding, water, ventilation and space and should not impose stress to the animal. Experiments involving endangered species require a permit be obtained from the Fish and Wildlife Service. These are only used as a guideline, any actions should be in compliance with any Federal regulations (APA, 2001).
Currently, there are no specific guidelines by the APA when it comes to care and housing of the animals. This issue has been part of an ongoing debate between the APA and the USDA. The USDA...