The International Council for Laboratory Animal Science (ICLAS) is an international scientific organization dedicated to advancing human and animal health by promoting the ethical care and use of laboratory animals in research worldwide.

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 aims of ICLAS are compatible with the highest possible standards of animal research internationally.

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 world-wide 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;
  • to promote the '3R' tenets of Russel and Burch.

On the 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 non-governmental organization to promote high standards of laboratory animal quality, care and health. Its activities have included collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) since 1961. The VII ICLA General Assembly took place in Utrecht, The Netherlands, on August 20 and 24, 1979. At this Assembly it was decided to change the name of the organization to the International Council for Laboratory Animal Science (ICLAS). Read more in the history of ICLAS.

The ICLAS Working Group on Harmonization of Guidelines arranged meetings for Harmonization of Guidelines on euthanasia and Endpoints in 2006. Later, they initiated the evaluation of new and existing guidelines related to genetically-engineered animals. During the fifth meeting, participants were informed about the progress made in the revision of the CIOMS 1985 International Guiding Principles for Biomedical Research involving Animals, leading to the final report in 2012.

Principle nr. 8 highlights the following about humane endpoints:

''Endpoints and timely interventions should be established for both humane and experimental reasons. Humane endpoints and/or interventions should be established before animal use begins, should be assessed throughout the course of the study, and shoul d be applied as early as possible to prevent, ameliorate, or minimize unnecessary and/or unintended pain and/or distress. Animals that would otherwise suffe r severe or chronic pain, distress, or discomfort that cannot be relieved and is not part of the experimental design, should be removed from the study and/or euthanized using a procedure appropriate for the species a nd condition of the animal''.

More information

More information can be found on the website of ICLAS.