China’s new Guidelines on Welfare and Ethical Review for Laboratory Animals now available as an authenticated English translation

In May 2019, UFAW’s Dr Huw Golledge spent two weeks in China representing UFAW and its sister charity the Humane Slaughter Association at two meetings and a workshop, all with the aim of sharing knowledge with Chinese colleagues with an interest in animal welfare.

The workshop was spearheaded by Dr Judy MacArthur-Clark,  JMC Welfare International, and Professor Sun Deming, National Research Institute for Health & Welfare and Ethics Committee of Chinese Association for Laboratory Animal Science, Beijing, China.  It brought together senior members of the Chinese laboratory animal welfare community and their colleagues from the UK and US to interpret a newly produced English translation of China’s new Guidelines on Welfare and Ethical Review for Laboratory Animals produced by the Standardisation Administration of the Peoples’ Republic of China.  The guidelines became effective on the 1st of September 2018 and although a literal translation of the document already existed, the workshop allowed the two groups to work together to agree a definitive English translation of the guidelines to inform the international community of the compliance requirements in China. It is very important for non-Chinese speakers to understand the nuances of the document and to ensure that scientific, legal and technical terms mean exactly the same thing in both versions.

Following the workshop, three bilingual experts (two native Chinese speakers and one native English speaker) reviewed the entire document to ensure consistency of terminology and general accuracy. The completed guidelines are now available, enabling non-Chinese experts to engage with colleagues in China with a full understanding of the regulatory framework under which animals are used for research in China, hopefully enabling greater co-operation and sharing of the latest animal welfare information between China and other countries.

Dr MacArthur Clark said: “This translation is a really important document to ensure these Chinese standards are recognised globally and will help to encourage adherence to the requirements which Professor Sun and his colleagues worked so hard to get agreed as National Standards. Especially as we enter a period of even greater international scientific collaboration to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, it is critically important that these standards are widely recognised, understood and applied in all relevant collaborative projects which may involve animals.

It is equally important that the use of animals is seriously and thoroughly reviewed, and alternatives used wherever possible through rigorous application of the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement). These standards provide a road map to achieve this in relation to all work being done in Chinese laboratories.”

Dr Golledge said “I am delighted that we now have a document which allows us to understand the regulatory requirements for the use of animals in scientific research in China. UFAW has long been involved in working with our Chinese colleagues to spread the message about the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) of the use of animals in research, a concept which UFAW was instrumental in developing in the 1950s, and this document will help us and others to continue this work.”

The guidelines can be accessed on UFAW’s website here https://www.ufaw.org.uk/chineseguidelines or in the CALAS English language journal, Animal Models & Experimental Medicine. You will find the publication at: https://doi.org/10.1002/ame2.12111.  They can be shared freely as they are Open Access.

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Note to editors:

Ref: MacArthur Clark JA, Sun D. Guidelines for the ethical review of laboratory animal welfare People’s Republic of China National Standard GB/T 35892-2018 [Issued 6 February 2018 Effective from 1 September 2018]. Animal Model Exp Med. 2020;3:10304–113. https://doi.org/10.1002/ame2.12111

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