The Use of Animals in Scientific Research

Scientists who use animals as research subjects must abide by federal policies. Public Health Service policy dictates specific requirements for animal care and use in research. This policy conforms to the Health Research Extension Act of 1985 (Public Law 99–158) and applies to all research, research training, biological testing, and other activities that involve animals. The principles for using and caring for vertebrate animals in research and testing include

  • The transportation, care, and use of animals should be in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act and other applicable federal laws, guidelines, and policies.
  • Procedures involving animals should be designed with consideration of their relevance to human or animal health, the advancement of knowledge, or the good of society.
  • The animals selected should be of an appropriate species and quality and the minimum number required to obtain valid results. Methods such as mathematical models, computer simulations, and in vitro biological systems should be considered.
  • Procedures should minimize discomfort, distress, and pain to the animals.
  • Procedures that may cause more than momentary or slight pain should be performed with appropriate sedation, analgesia, or anesthesia.
  • Animals that would suffer severe or chronic pain or distress that cannot be relieved should be painlessly killed.
  • The living conditions of animals should be appropriate for the species. The housing, feeding, and care of animals must be directed by a veterinarian or a trained, experienced scientist.
  • Investigators who work with animals must be appropriately qualified and trained for conducting procedures on living animals.
  • Exceptions to any of these principles must be reviewed and approved by an appropriate committee prior to the procedure.
  • An Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) oversees all animal use in each institution where animal research is conducted. The IACUC must give approval for the research plan and species to be used. IACUCs include scientists and nonscientists from outside the institution. Nonscientists are often representatives of humane organizations.

From: Information about Alcohol

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