COLUMBUS , Ohio An Ohio State University spinal cord injury training program that has been targeted by animal rights groups nationally has received a clean bill of health from the National Institutes of Health.
The Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), an arm of the NIH charged with insuring animal welfare in research, notified the university this month that it was satisfied with the institution's activities on this project.
OLAW had contacted Ohio State officials in January raising a series of questions about the program it had received from the Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a national animal rights group. PCRM has been conducting a grassroots campaign for at least two years to halt the program.
At PCRM's urgings, OLAW had asked Ohio State specific questions about the program's design, its methodology and whether the institution had adequately searched for alternatives to using animals in the project.
Through a series of letters between the university and OLAW over four months, officials outlined the safeguards and procedures followed by the Institutional Laboratory Animal Care and Use Committee (ILACUC), the internal regulatory group at Ohio State responsible for safeguarding animals used in research.
"Based on its assessment of this explanation, OLAW finds the ILACUC review and the described performance of the spinal cord injury study to be consistent with the provisions of the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals," wrote Axel Wolff, OLAW's acting director of the Division of Compliance Oversight.
"We appreciate the efforts of the ILACUC . . . in providing the requested information and find no cause for further action by this office."