Severity classification of procedures

The EU Directive 2010/63 on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes states  that all procedures are to be classified into categories according to their severity (Article 15).

In July 2009 an expert group commissioned by the EU met to produce guidelines for the severity classification of procedures used on animals in research. Their report is available here.

This report focuses on procedures that are used on the traditional laboratory animals. There are a number of procedures commonly used in fish research that are not mentioned in the report.

In September 2009, Norecopa arranged an international consensus meeting entitled Harmonisation of the Care and Use of Fish in Research. A consensus document was issued after this meeting, where the participants concluded, among other things, that a working party should be appointed to produce a complementary report that focuses on procedures used in fish research.

The working group finished its report in December 2010. It has been published in the journal Laboratory Animals and is available for free download (Open Access) thanks to sponsorship from Laboratory Animals Ltd.:

Guidance on the severity classification of scientific procedures involving fish: report of a Working Group appointed by the Norwegian Consensus-Platform for the Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of animal experiments (Norecopa).

Severity classification og fish proceduresA poster describing the severity classification of procedures involving fish was presented at the 8th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences, held in Montreal 21-25 August 2011. The poster may be downloaded here, with permission from the organisers.

FELASA/ECLAM/ESLAV Report on the classification and reporting of severity experienced by animals used in scientific procedures The rationale behind this report is based upon the fact that the examples of severity classification given in Annex VIII of the EU Directive are limited in number and often relate to the procedure rather than assessing its outcome. The aim of the report is to deliver guidance on the assignment of severity, both prospectively and at the end of a procedure.

Guidelines on severity assessment and classification of genetically altered mice and rat lines

UK Home Office advisory notes on actual severity reporting of regulated procedures  
UK Home Office advice on severity assessment of genetically altered animals

More links to resources on severity assessment

A lecture on severity classification, held by Norecopa's secretary at the annual Scand-LAS meeting in 2012, can be downloaded here.

See also the PREPARE guidelines for planning animal experiments.

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