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Harmonization Committee History

ICLAS Working Group on Harmonization of Guidelines on the Use of Animals in Science


The international harmonization of guidelines for the use of animals in research, teaching and testing is an emerging issue in the context of the globalization of research. The International Council for Laboratory Animal Science (ICLAS), as an international umbrella organization, is well situated to act as a facilitator in this area.  ICLAS supports the harmonization of animal care and use policies, guidelines and other forms of regulation on a worldwide basis, as a reflection of the globalization of research. This does not mean standardization. ICLAS considers that each country should be able to maintain an animal welfare oversight system that reflects its cultures, traditions, religions, laws and regulations.

Participants from around the world were invited by the International Council for Laboratory Animal Science (ICLAS) to a first meeting in Nantes, France on June 13-14, 2004 to discuss the harmonization of existing national and international guidelines for the use of animals in science.
The ICLAS Working Group on Harmonization of Guidelines, and subcommittees on guidelines on euthanasia and on endpoints, were created to pursue the work agreed upon during this first meeting.  The report of this first meeting is published by the Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Associations, Proceedings of the Ninth FELASA Symposium (Nantes, France, June 2004), Section 2.The results of the meetings on Harmonization of Guidelines on Euthanasia and Endpoints are published in ScienceMagazine, in its May 5th, 2006 edition.

The Second meeting was held in St-Louis, USA on November 5-6, 2005, and was a great success, attracting representatives from all parts of the world.  The conclusions of the First ICLAS Meeting for Harmonization of Guidelines on euthanasia and endpoints were presented.  The next endeavor of this ICLAS working group was the harmonization of animal user training programs, and guidelines on protocol review.  Ad hoc committees were formed to examine general principles in relation to the guidelines on these two topics of interest for the international community. These committees have established recognition of key documents as international references.  See the International harmonization of guidance on the ethical review of proposals for the use of animals, and on the education and training of animal users in science.

The Third International ICLAS Meeting for Harmonization of Guidelines was held during the Tenth FELASA meeting held in Cernobbio, Italy, in 2007. In addition to the revision and completion of the two ICLAS documents on Animal User Training Program and Guidelines on Protocol Review, the ICLAS Working Group on Harmonization of Guidelines initiated the evaluation of new and existing guidelines related to genetically-engineered animals.
Documents from Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada were discussed. An ICLAS ad hoc subcommittee was created and this subcommittee prepared a preliminary report for the following meeting of the ICLAS Working Group on Harmonization.


The Fourth International ICLAS Meeting for Harmonization of Guidelines was held in Indianapolis, USA, in November, 2008. The preliminary draft document on genetically-engineered animals was discussed and is expect to be completed for June 2010. The ICLAS Working Group on Harmonization of Guidelines has also initiated the revision and update of the CIOMS 1985 International Guiding Principles for Biomedical Research Involving Animals.
An ICLAS-CIOMS ad hoc subcommittee was created. In the next few months, an extensive consultation with be conducted among the scientific community from all parts of the world. ICLAS expects to complete the revision of this important document for 2011.


The Fifth ICLAS Meeting on Harmonization of Guidelines was held in Helsinki, Finland, on June 14, 2010 during the scand- FELASA 2010. During this ICLAS meeting, the participants were informed of the progress made in relation to the revision of the CIOMS 1985 International Guiding Principles for Biomedical Research Involving Animals.
Several CIOMS Guiding principles were also discussed and refined. At the conclusion of the meeting, the agenda for the completion of the work including an international consultation was discussed. It is expected that the final CIOMS document be completed for early 2011.

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