The “American Association for Laboratory Animal Science” (“AALAS”), more formerly known as The “Animal Care Panel” began in the early 1950’s. At this time, only a national branch existed, due to the inability of the original board members to embrace the idea of localized branches. In early 1957, under the guidance of Dr. L Royal Christensen and such loyal supporters as Neville Cummings, the concept of localized branches gathered considerable support. The national organization was then only six or seven years old and was still run by the original board members, many of whom were not ready to embrace the idea of local branches. That year, under the leadership of Orland Soave, the name was changed to The American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS).
At the 1958 meeting in Chicago, Dr. Christensen submitted a proposal as well as an application complete with a constitution and bylaws for the New York Metropolitan Branch. Both were approved and New York Metropolitan Branch Animal Care Panel (NYMBACP) was in business. (Credit is due to the American Association for Microbiology, whose branch bylaws served as a model for ours.) Let it be noted, during this transitory time another organization was coming about: The Animal Associated of Laboratory Science and the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, or “AAALAC”.Charter Officers: Dr. L. Royal Christensen-President, Clyde Miller, Manor Farms-Vice President, Elihu Bond-Veterinary Consultant and Secretary TreasureCharter Council Members: Merril Chase Rockefeller, John Nelson Rockefeller, Floyd Poling, Industrial Washing Machines, Walter Sapanski, Public Health Research of the City of New York, John W. CummingThe council, represented by academia, government and commerce, extended its initial membership to all patrons involved in laboratory animal science from Boston to upstate New York to Washington D.C. Although this broad membership base was short-lived, it paved the way for the establishment of more localized branches across the US.All early meetings of the NYMBACP were held at the NYU Medical School. As time went on invitations were extended to hold meetings at Rockefeller, Cornell, Mt. Sinai Columbia and Albert Einstein. The branch also held some meetings in pharmaceutical companies in New Jersey. Our first few installation dinners were held at the Henry Hudson Hotel on 57th Street. This had been the site of the 1953 National Meeting, the first outside of Chicago, the first in a Hotel, and the first in to have exhibits.Coincidently, at the same time our branch was establishing itself, (and a couple years AFTER the establishment of “AAALAC”) the Animal Welfare Act was passed by congress.
The responsibility for the enforcement of the provisions detailed in the AWA was placed with the USDA. Let it be noted, up until this point their expertise was almost exclusively involved in animals raised for food or clothing. This would be the first time that the USDA would be responsible for the inspection of all research facilities (with qualifying species).Ahead of their time, the Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians, Husbandry staff and other associated caretakers associated with the Animal Care Panel (“ACP”), the Animal Associated of Laboratory Science (“AALAS”) and the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (“AAALAC”) laid the groundwork for the organizations we are part of today and established rules and regulations to protect the research subjects and personnel that address research queries across the globe.
September 25, 1957
A number of us in the Metropolitan are have felt that formation of a local branch of the Animal Care Panel would be a desirable project at this time. We feel that the Animal Care Panel has progressed to the point where there is a need for participation by the animal technician, the laboratory technician using animals and others, at a local level. Members of these groups are ordinarily unable to attend the annual meeting. Further; the many problems that arise in the day to day operation of an animal colony or the use of animals in the laboratory are not usually matters for presentation at the annual meetings, but such matters are entirely suitable for discussion at local branch meetings. A local branch may also be influential in establishing training courses, setting up standards for competence, and in general acting as a meeting places and forum for discussion of all matters best handled on a local or regional level. I do not think the Animal Care Panel will fulfill its original aim or realize its full potentialities unless an opportunity is given for active participation by the animal technician, using the term in its broadest sense. If you are interested in the formation of a local branch and in helping develop its aims and programs I would like to invite you to a meeting of the members of the Animal Care Panel in this area to discuss the organization of a local branch. The meeting will be held in the auditorium of N.Y.U Bellevue Medical Center, 550 First Avenue, at 7 P.M. on October 10. Please indicate on the enclosed cared whether or not you will be able to attend.
Berg Institute, Science Services N.Y.U-Bellevue Medical Center
550 First Avenue, New York 16, New York