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Keywords:

  • Animal ethics;
  • Animal research;
  • Tanzania;
  • Animal research ethics;
  • Animals

Abstract

The significance of animals in research cannot be over-emphasized. The use of animals for research and training in research centres, hospitals and schools is progressively increasing. Advances in biotechnology to improve animal productivity require animal research. Drugs being developed and new interventions or therapies being invented for cure and palliation of all sorts of animal diseases and conditions need to be tested in animals for their safety and efficacy at some stages of their development. Drugs and interventions for human use pass through a similar development process and must be tested pre-clinically in laboratory animals before clinical trials in humans can be conducted. Therefore, animals are important players in research processes which directly and indirectly benefit animals and humans. However, questions remain as to whether these uses of animals consider the best interests of animals themselves. Various research and training institutions in Tanzania have established some guidelines on animal use, including establishing animal ethics committees. However, most institutions have not established oversight committees. In institutions where there may be guidelines and policies, there are no responsible committees or units to directly oversee if and how these guidelines and policies are enforced; thus, implementation becomes difficult or impossible. This paper endeavours to raise some issues associated with the responsible use of animals in research and training in Tanzania and highlights suggestions for improvement of deficiencies that exist in order to bridge the gap between what ought to be practised and what is practised.