The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals was released to the sponsors and the public on January 2, 1996, in a prepublication form. After that, the Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources (ILAR) received comments from users and members of the Committee to Revise the Guide. The Guide has always been characterized as a living document, subject to modification with changing conditions and new information. That characterization results in a continuing emphasis on performance goals as opposed to engineering approaches. The use of performance goals places increasing responsibility on the user and results in greater enhancement of animal well-being; but performance goals require careful interpretation, whereas engineering goals leave no room for interpretation. With that difference in mind, the National Research Council and the appointed reviewers strove for accuracy and clarity. However, some errors and ambiguities were identified by readers of the prepublication copy. Some pointed out pagination, spelling, and reference errors. Others noted that some statements were being misinterpreted. After careful consideration, some changes have been made in this edition. For example, punctuation and spelling were corrected, and wording was changed to clarify meaning. An example of changes for clarification is replacement of the word "develop" with "review and approve" in descriptions of animal care and use committee (IACUC) oversight of housing plans, sanitation, and bedding selection; these are responsibilities of animal care personnel, not of the IACUC, as the word ''develop" might have implied. The discussion of monitoring of food and fluid restriction in small animals was clarified by addition of the phrase "such as rodents." Appendix B (Selected Organizations Related to Laboratory Animal Science) of the review copy that was sent to reviewers requested advice from reviewers regarding what organizations should be listed; some were added in the prepublication copy and others later. A footnote added to page 2 and referred to in three places reminds readers that the Guide is written for a broad international audience some of whom are not covered by either the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals or the Animal Welfare Regulations but that those who are covered by these rules must abide by them even when the Guide recommends a different approach. That admonition is provided throughout the Guide, but its placement in the introduction was thought important. ILAR believes that each of these changes will help users to interpret and apply the recommendations as intended. There was no substantial change in the content of the prepublication version.

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