CO2 Euthanasia: What to Do When Research Findings and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Guidelines Conflict?

Tuesday, March 20
4:30 PM - 5:45 PM
Location: Delaware AB

This session will build on the on-going discussions about the appropriate methods to use in euthanizing laboratory rodents. During this session, speakers and attendees will:

Natalie A. Bratcher, MS

3Rs Scientific Liaison & Animal Welfare Specialist
AbbVie, Inc.

Natalie serves as 3Rs Scientific Liaison and Animal Welfare Specialist within AbbVie’s Office of Animal Welfare. She earned a Master’s degree in Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences from Illinois State University with an emphasis on applied behavior analysis. She spent her first 7 years with Abbott as a neuroscience pharmacologist in the area of CNS diseases research where she was responsible for a number of preclinical in vivo models. Natalie developed a passion for improving research animal welfare and promoting refinement, replacement and reduction of animal use in research, recognizing that there are many opportunities for improving both animal welfare and scientific practices by way of the 3Rs. While an ethical obligation to adopt alternatives when possible exists, researchers have little time to pursue the studies necessary to assess the impact of change that comes with 3Rs implementation. This full time position was proposed and created as a means of achieving research necessary for impact and implementation of various 3Rs initiatives. Working with the Director of Animal Welfare and many scientific mentors across R&D, Natalie serves as an ambassador and scientific liaison to facilitate and communicate all AbbVie’s global 3Rs efforts. In 2013, when Abbott divested the pharmaceutical R&D division, now AbbVie, Natalie took on the additional role of Global Animal Welfare Specialist to support compliance with AbbVie’s Global Animal Welfare Policy, USDA regulations, and AAALAC International expectations by coordinating a global 3rd party supplier oversight program for all contracted animal use.

Natalie values collaborating and building relationships with like-minded professionals. She has served on the PRIM&R planning committee the past two years, is honored to be serving as the Vice President of the newly formed North American 3Rs Collaborative and sits on the steering committee for the Innovation and Quality Consortium’s 3Rs Leadership Group. Her current research interests and collaborations include investigating factors leading to successful social housing of male mice, benefits and 3Rs impact of utilizing digital vivarium technology, and investigating the use of CO2 for refining humane euthanasia in rodents.


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Neera V. Gopee, DVM, PhD, DACLAM, DABT

Veterinary Medical Officer, Division of Compliance Oversight/Assurances

Neera V. Gopee, DVM., PhD,is a veterinary medical officer in the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Gopee earned her veterinary degree at the University of the West Indies and holds a doctoral degree in Toxicology from the University of Georgia. Prior to her appointment at OLAW, she served as a veterinary medical officer at the National Center for Toxicological Research, US Food and Drug Administration in Jefferson, Arkansas. Dr. Gopee is board certified in toxicology and laboratory animal medicine.


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Debra L. Hickman, DVM, MS, DACLAM, DACAW

Director, Laboratory Animal Resource Center; Associate Research Professor
Indiana University

Debra L. Hickman, DVM, MS, DACLAM, DACAW is the Director of the Laboratory Animal Resource Center at Indiana University in Indianapolis, IN. In addition to her clinical and administrative responsibilities, Dr. Hickman directs an active laboratory that explores how the biomethodology, handling, and housing selections that are used in research affect the well-being of animals used in research. She has a special interest in the biomethodology, including euthanasia, of small rodents.


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CO2 Euthanasia: What to Do When Research Findings and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Guidelines Conflict?


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