Source: "ANIMAL RESEARCH: Long-Fought Compromise Reached On European Animal Rules," Gretchen Vogel, Science 24 September 2010: Vol. 329. no. 5999, pp. 1588 - 1589
The United States, with a research program comparable in size to that of the European Union, has a complex system of rules governing animal research in laboratories. There are separate rules for non-human primates and other mammals. (There are also rules for research involving livestock outside the laboratory and animals involved in research in the wild.)
UNESCO is the only United Nations Organization with charter authorizing general oversight for science; it has a broad program dealing with the natural sciences as well as a program dealing with the ethics of science and technology. However, other U.N. agencies -- notably WHO, FAO and the UNDP -- also deal with research that involves laboratory animals.
Perhaps this is a time in which UNESCO could play a useful role by convening a working group of U.N. Agencies to discuss the role of the United Nations system in promoting rules that assure the ethical treatment of laboratory animals. Such a group might provide a useful service to the world by creating an online observatory of such rules that exist in individual nations and in regional organizations such as the European Union.
The opinions expressed in this posting are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of Americans for UNESCO or any other organization.