ICLAS and the International Community

Publication Details

Gilles Demers

HISTORY

Through an initiative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO), the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS), and the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS), the International Committee on Laboratory Animals (ICLA) was conceived in 1956 as a nongovernmental organization to promote high standards of laboratory animal quality, care, and health. Its activities have included collaboration with the World Health Organization since 1961. In 1979, ICLA was renamed the International Council for Laboratory Animal Science (ICLAS), because much new knowledge in biology and medicine requires planned experiments with organisms or their parts.

ICLAS is an international nongovernmental and nonprofit scientific organization. ICLAS exists to promote high standards of animal care and use in education, research, testing, and diagnosis, to promote good science and foster humane practices in scientific research. The ICLAS Mission and Aims are compatible with the highest possible standards of animal research internationally.

MISSION AND AIMS

ICLAS advances human and animal health by promoting the ethical care and use of animals in research worldwide. The aims of ICLAS are

  • To promote and coordinate the development of laboratory animal science throughout the world and as a matter of priority in developing countries;
  • To promote international collaboration in laboratory animal science;
  • To promote quality definition and monitoring of laboratory animals;
  • To collect and disseminate information on laboratory animal science;
  • To promote worldwide harmonization in the care and use of laboratory animals;
  • To promote the humane use of animals in research through recognition of ethical principles and scientific responsibilities; and
  • To promote the 3Rs tenets of Russell and Burch.

MEMBERSHIP

ICLAS is composed of four (4) categories of members: National members (30); Scientific/Union members (37); Associate members (34); and Honorary members (9). National members represent national perspectives. Scientific/Union members represent national or regional laboratory animal science and other scientific associations. Associate members represent commercial and academic organizations that support the aims of ICLAS.

List of ICLAS Members

National members: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States, Mexico, and Tunisia.

Scientific/Union members: AALAS/USA, ANZLAS/Australia-New Zealand, AGS/USA, CALAS-ACSAL/Canada, CALAS/China, GVSOLAS/Germany, JALAS/Japan, KALAS/Korea, LASA/U.K., NVP/ Netherlands, Scand-LAS/Sweden, SEEA/Spain, AFSTAL/France, CSLAS/ Taiwan, SECAL/Spain, FinLAS/Finland, BCLAS/Belgium, Balt-LAS/ Latvia, ACCMAL/Central America, AAALAC, ACLAM/USA, CSLAS/ Croatia, KRIBB/Korea, JSP/Japan, SGV/Switzerland, AACyTAL/Argentina, AMCAL/Mexico, COBEA/Brazil, BALAS/Bangladesh, TALAS/ Thailand, International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS)/France, International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS)/Netherlands, International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS)/Netherlands, International Union of Pharmacology (IUPHAR) Germany, International Union of Physiological Sciences (IUPS)/USA, and International Union of Toxicology (IUTOX)/Switzerland.

NEW ICLAS GOVERNING BOARD (2003-2007)

President: Gilles Demers (Canada)

Vice President: Norikazu Tamaoki (Japan)

Secretary-General: Patri Vergara (SECAL, Spain)

Treasurer: Cecilia Carbone (Argentina)

National Members

Gemma Perretta (Italy)

Czeslaw Radzikowski (Poland)

Norikazu Tamaoki (Japan)

Guy De Vroey (Belgium)

Scientific/Union Members

Denna Benn (CALAS, Canada)

Melvin Dennis (AALAS, USA)

Guy Dubreuil (AFSTAL, France)

J.R. Haywood (IUPHAR, USA)

Rafael Hernandez (ACCMAL, Mexico)

Toshio Itoh (JALAS, Japan)

STRATEGIC PLAN

The ICLAS Governing Board has developed a Strategic Plan to guide the organization through the next several years. The Strategic Plan includes the mission statement of ICLAS: “The International Council for Laboratory Animal Science advances human and animal health by promoting the ethical care and use of animals in research worldwide.” ICLAS strives to act as a worldwide resource for laboratory animal science knowledge; to be the acknowledged advocate for the advancement of laboratory animal science in developing countries and regions; and to serve as a premier source of laboratory animal science guidelines and standards, and as a general laboratory animal welfare information center.

ICLAS PROGRAMS

Meetings

International meeting. An international scientific meeting is held in association with the general assembly every 4 years. It is organized by a National or Scientific member and is often held in association with regional/ local organizations.

Regional meetings. Other regional scientific meetings and courses are organized by laboratory animal science organizations in the various regions of the world under the auspices of six ICLAS Regional Committees for the following regions: Europe, Asia, Africa (French and English regions), Oceania, and the Americas. This process has allowed ICLAS to focus on each region and to assure diffusion of scientific knowledge within all regions of the world. ICLAS provides funding and guidance for courses and meetings in these regions.

Communications

ICLAS FYI Bulletin. The ICLAS FYI Bulletin is an electronic instrument that provides worldwide distribution of timely information that may be of interest to ICLAS constituents and that may be passed on to their constituents. An average of five bulletins are sent each month, and these bulletins have led to interaction among laboratory animal scientists around the world. This international network is the most extensive in laboratory animal science in the world.

ICLAS Website: www.iclas.org. The ICLAS web page has been developed to provide various items of information on ICLAS programs and ICLAS activities. This information is important to existing and potential constituents.

ICLAS INITIATIVES

ICLAS-CCAC International Symposium on Regulatory Testing and Animal Welfare (Québec, Canada, June 2001)

This ICLAS initiative was a great success, and included 160 participants from 22 countries. The proceedings of this meeting were published in ILAR Journal in the fall of 2002, and included the following conclusions:

  • A definite link between good animal welfare and quality science;
  • Reduction of pain and distress is a higher priority than the reduction of numbers of animals;
  • Guidance documents on humane endpoints: CCAC (1998) and OECD (2000) guidelines recognized as effective refinement tools to minimize pain and distress;
  • Existing validated earlier endpoints should be used by all sectors;
  • Guidelines developed by the OECD and ICH to promote more humane methodologies for the testing of chemicals are reducing animal use by eliminating redundant testing;
  • Data sharing and training programs should be put in place quickly to assist regulators, toxicologists, and others to be comfortable with the new tests;
  • Animal care practices that improve animal welfare without jeopardizing the scientific design must be implemented.

ILAR International Workshop on Development of Science-based Guidelines for Laboratory Animal Care

ICLAS is a cosponsor of this workshop convened to discuss the available knowledge that can affect current and pending guidelines for laboratory animal care, identify gaps in that knowledge to encourage future research endeavors, and discuss the scientific evidence that can be used to assess the benefits and costs of various regulatory approaches affecting facilities, research, and animal welfare.

Meeting for Harmonization of Guidelines (FELASA 2004, France)

The harmonization of existing guidelines for the use of animals in research, teaching, and testing is an emerging issue in the context of the globalization of research around the world. ICLAS, as an international umbrella organization, could act as a facilitator in this area. Accordingly, ICLAS will be inviting one or two representatives of the principal organizations in the world that produce or use guidelines for the use of animals in research, to a 1-day meeting (June 13-14, 2004) held in conjunction with FELASA 2004, in Nantes, France. Representatives from ILAR, FELASA, CCAC, Council of Europe, OECD, ICH, AAALAC, and others will be invited. This will be an opportunity to open the dialogue on harmonization of some existing guidelines and to learn whether there are possibilities to reach a consensus on the recognition of these guidelines at an international level. According to the commitment of the participants, this initiative could be repeated on a regular basis.

CONCLUSION

In the context of the ILAR International Workshop on Development of Science-based Guidelines for Laboratory Animal Care, ICLAS can play an important role because of

  1. Its role as an international umbrella organization:
    1. ICLAS membership includes countries from every region of the world; and
    2. The impact of ICLAS programs to ensure diffusion of good science and good animal welfare practices is felt worldwide, through ICLAS Meetings, Regional Programs, the Communication Program, and other ICLAS Initiatives.
  2. The ICLAS Policy regarding harmonization versus standardization.

ICLAS supports the harmonization of animal care and use policies, guidelines, and other forms of regulation on a worldwide basis. However, because ICLAS is in constant liaison with countries and regions having different cultures, traditions, religions, legislations, regulations, and laws, ICLAS considers that each country should be able to maintain an animal welfare oversight system that reflects those elements and that suits the country's own particular characteristics. The rigidity related to standardization for all does not fit with respect to the characteristics of individual countries.