First the simple (I hope) question.
I am writing an amendment to my IACUC protocol. An undergrad wants to
remove a few scales from the back of an adult zebrafish and do some
experiments on the melanophores. I wrote the protocol and assigned it
to Pain category B.
Hopefully people are familiar with these pain categories, but if not,
here are the things under this that are relevant:
Alert Animals (behavioral observation or brief restraint)
Identification procedures (e.g., tattoo, ear tag, ear notching) - which
surely has to be more painful than fin clipping or scale pulling.
I use this category for fin clip procedure and have never been
questioned. They are suggesting I change the scale pull to Category D
because I propose using an anesthetic. (which is more to keep the fish
still than to provide pain relief, right?)
So my questions are:
1. Is Category B appropriate for fin clipping?
2. Is Category B appropriate for pulling a few scales?
The larger concern:
I keep wondering if as a community, we shouldn't get a committee
together to standardize practices for zebrafish husbandry and care.
This year the AAALAC inspection at Princeton really focused on fish and
they were reasonable, but it caused me a lot of headaches. I am
constantly having to reeducated IACUC here about what is appropriate or
not appropriate for fish care. Simple things that me explaining to them
that I don't want to use soap or Goo gone to clean the fish tanks.
Yes, they look shinier, but soap can kill fish. They don't need to be
shinier, they need to be clean and support fish health. I don't know
how others do things, but I argued successfully that my lab members
don't need to wear boots, hats, gowns, and masks to be in the fish rooms
or set up fish. If our onsite vet had his way, we'd be wearing
biohazard suits to feed shrimp to the tanks.
I worry that if we wait for too long, AAALAC is going to decide what we
should or shouldn't do and we won't have the ability to set the
Any thoughts on this?
Rebecca D. Burdine, Ph.D.
Dept. of Molecular Biology
Washington Road Mof 433
Princeton, NJ 08544
Phone: (609) 258-7515
Fax: (609) 258-6730
Email: rburdine from princeton.edu <mailto:rburdine from princeton.edu>
Admin Assistant: Anna Schmedel (609) 258-5028
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