Introduction

In parallel with the development of biomedical research, laboratory animal science and service organizations have been in constant evolution and development over the last 40 years. Demands for a higher quality of animals, together with a greater concern for animal welfare, are the driving force behind the development of organizations that provide support for people working in the field of laboratory animal science.

The first laboratory animal organizations were created in the 1950s and 1960s in North America, Japan, and Europe: AALAS (formerly ACP) in 1950, JALAS in 1952, LASA in 1963, ICLAS in 1967, and CCAC in 1968. Since then, increasing levels of biomedical research in other countries, mainly from Asia and Central and South America, has created an explosion of new laboratory animal science and service organizations around the world.

The role of the International Council for Laboratory Animal Science (ICLAS) as an international umbrella organization is important in this worldwide development. In several parts of the world, regional organizations are created to maintain links between national scientific organizations and to lead the field in providing policies and guidelines related to laboratory animal care and use. FELASA in Europe has played an important role in this respect.

Several countries now have more than one laboratory animal science organization serving different goals, viz. continuing education, training, production of guidelines, scientific communication, accreditation, and certification programs.

In order to give the reader a useful and practical overview of the principal laboratory animal science organizations around the world, the authors have classified them according to their primary aims and scope, i.e., international organizations, laboratory animal science associations, professional organizations, animal care and welfare organizations, and miscellaneous associations.

However, this chapter is limited to providing basic information about the main laboratory animal science organizations. It is neither all inclusive nor exhaustive, as the continuous growth of laboratory animal science and the ongoing creation of new organizations make this impossible. The reader should visit organization Web sites for further information. When a Web site was not available at the time of publication, a mailing or e-mail address is given.

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