Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Pain and distress are central topics in legislation, regulations, and standards regarding the use of animals in research. However, in practice, pain has received greatly increased attention in recent years, while attention to distress has lagged far behind, especially for distress that is not induced by pain. A contributing factor is that there is less information readily available on distress, including practical information on its recognition, assessment and alleviation.

This chapter attempts to help fill that void by reversing the usual pattern and giving greater attention to distress than to pain. In addition, we also bypass the pain versus distress dichotomy by adopting a holistic treatment of adverse effects, i.e., not parsing distress and pain, by providing guidance on how to assess deviations from normality through tools such as score sheets. Our aim is to provide practical information to IACUCs, scientists, technicians and animal care personnel.

We organize the chapter according to specific research areas and case studies. However, the principles and approaches are readily generalized to other research areas.


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