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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is a major biomedical research-funding body in the United States. Approximately 40% of NIH-funded research involves experimentation on nonhuman animals (Monastersky, 2008). Institutions that conduct animal research with NIH funds must adhere to the Public Health Service (PHS) care and use standards of the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW, 2002a). Institutions deviating significantly from the PHS’s animal care and use standards must report these incidents to the NIH’s OLAW. This study is an exploratory analysis of all the significant deviations reported by animal-research facilities to OLAW during a 3-month period. The study identifies the most common issues reported and species involved. The study found that the majority of the incidents resulted in animal pain and distress and that 75% ended in animal death. This study offers preliminary recommendations to address the most common problems identified in this analysis. This study urges OLAW and other stakeholders to analyze larger, more recent samples of reported deviations to compare with these results and ultimately improve adherence to animal welfare standards.


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