Animal research will play an essential role in efforts to meet increasing demands for global health care. Yet the animal research community faces the challenge of overcoming negative impressions that industry and academia engage in international collaborations in order to conduct work in parts of the world where animal welfare standards are less stringent. Thus, the importance of ensuring the international harmonization of the principles and standards of animal care and use cannot be overstated. A number of national and international groups are actively working toward this goal.
The Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR), a program unit of the US National Research Council, is committed to promoting both the welfare of animals used in research and the quality of the resulting science. In 2008, to follow up on the 2003 event, ILAR convened a workshop which brought together 200 participants from 17 countries. Their mission was to identify and promote better understanding of important challenges in the conduct of animal research across country boundaries. These challenges include: the sourcing of animals; the quality of veterinary care; competent staff; the provision of a suitable environment (including nutritious food and potable water) for animals; and ongoing oversight of the animal program; among others.
Animal Research in a Global Environment summarizes the proceedings of the 2008 workshop. The impact of this 2008 workshop has extended beyond the oral presentations conveyed in these proceedings. It has been a vital bridge for diverse colleagues and organizations around the world to advance initiatives designed to fill gaps in standards, professional qualifications, and coordination of animal use.