Resources about laboratory animals used in biomedical research including legislation, publications, training, meetings, and organizations.
Animal Welfare Act and Regulations
The Animal Welfare Act was signed into law in 1966. It is the only Federal law in the United States that regulates the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport, and by dealers. Other laws, policies, and guidelines may include additional species coverage or specifications for animal care and use, but all refer to the Animal Welfare Act as the minimum acceptable standard. The Act is enforced by the USDA, APHIS, Animal Care agency.
Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals
National Research Council.
Provides information that will enhance animal well-being, the quality of biomedical research, and the advancement of biologic knowledge that is relevant to humans or animals.
International Guiding Principles for Biomedical Research Involving Animals (PDF | 140 KB)
Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS).
Often referred to as the CIOMS Principles, this document provides criteria for establishing codes of practice or legislation about the use of animals in scientific research. Text of the 1985 guidelines is available here. *UPDATED
Recognizing Pain in Animals
National Academies of Science. Institute for Laboratory Animal Research.
The National Academies have developed a free online resource to help those who care for and use laboratory animals, farm animals, and pets to prevent, recognize, and alleviate pain in different types of animals, from non-human primates to fish. The web site is related to a 2009 report on the Recognition and Alleviation of Pain in Laboratory Animals.
Guidelines to Promote the Wellbeing of Animals Used for Scientific Purposes: The Assessment and Alleviation of Pain and Distress in Research Animals
Australian Government. National Health and Medical Research Council.
Published in 2008 to be used by investigators and members of insitutional ethics committees in Australia, this document is also relevant to people that conduct, review or manage research with animals all over the world.
GAO Report: USDA's Oversight of Dealers of Random Source Dogs and Cats
Government Accountability Office.
The September 2010 results and recommendations from a GAO study of USDA's oversight of Class B dealers, suggesting that the oversight would benefit from additional management information and analysis.
Newcastle Consensus Meeting on Carbon Dioxide Euthanasia of Laboratory Animals, February 2006 (PDF | 123KB)
In February 2006 a meeting was held at the University of Newcastle in the United Kingdom to bring together scientists who have examined CO2 as a euthanasia agent.
Resources Today for the Research of Tomorrow
USDA. NAL. Animal Welfare Information Center.
Watch this short video to learn more about the Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC). The video is 12 minutes long and was produced in 1989.
The Ethics of Research Involving Animals
Nuffield Council on Bioethics.
This report is available in full and as a summary on the site. The working group raised moral and ethical questions regarding the use of animals in research.
Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) Guidelines
Canadian Council on Animal Care.
Includes guidelines for animals used in research. Topics covered include transgenic animals, fish, wildlife, antibody production, laboratory animal facilties, appropriate endpoints, animal use protocol review and animal user training. Additional guidelines are developed in response to current and emerging needs of the research community and advances in laboratory animal care. Also see their Guide to the Care and Use of Experimental Animals, Vol. 1, 1993(PDF | 2.3MB).
Methods and Welfare Considerations in Behavioral Research with Animals, 2002 (PDF | 444 KB)
DHHS. National Institutes of Health.
This handbook is intended to assist the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) in the evaluation of protocols that employ various means to manipulate the behavior and health of laboratory animals.
Public Health Service (PHS) Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals
National Institutes of Health. Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare
Includes the U.S. Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals Used in Testing, Research and Training as well as the Health Research Extension Act of 1985 (Public Law 99-158, "Animals in Research," November 20, 1985), which provides the statutory mandate for the PHS Policy.
Regulatory Testing and Animal Welfare
Institute for Laboratory Animal Research.
This collection of journal articles discusses best practices and animal welfare issue in regards to regulatory testing and toxicology test methods.
Animal Welfare Policy Statements
American Veterinary Medical Association.
Position statements covering recommendations on antimicrobial use, euthanasia, abuse, pain, and other important animal welfare concerns.
Center for Animal Welfare at UC Davis
University of California, Davis.
Headquartered in the Department of Animal Science, they provide information on issues related to animal welfare and develop practical methods of improving the quality of life for animals.
Ventilation Design Handbook on Animal Research Facilities Using Static Microisolators, 1998
DHHS. NIH. Office of Research Services.
This publication is a definitive research report on how the room environment affects animal care. Volumes I and II are no longer available in print and can only be downloaded from this site.
NASA Principles for the Ethical Care and Use of Animals
National Air and Space Administration.
The following principles are offered to guide careful and considered discussion of the ethical challenges that arise in the course of animal research, a process that must balance risks, burdens and benefits
Euroguide On the Accomodation and Care of Animals Used for Experimental and Other Scientific Purposes
Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Associations.
This guide provides an abbreviated version of the revised Appendix A of the European Convention for the Protection of Vertebrate Animals used for Experimental and other Scientific Purposes.
Occupational Health and Safety in the Care and Use of Research Animals, 1997
National Academy of Sciences. Institute for Laboratory Animal Research.
This book is about the occupational health and safety of institutional employees, visitors and students who might be exposed to hazards during the course of their work with research animals.
Plan for the Use of Animals in Research, 1993
DHHS. National Institutes of Health.
This plan was drafted by an Interagency Coordinating Committee for the Use of Animals in Research and contains information on research initiatives, information dissemination and training.
Lab Animal Welfare
American Physiological Society.
Links to internet resources on animals in research and education including government agencies.
Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in the Care and Use of Animals
American Psychological Association. Committee on Animal Research and Ethics.
These guidelines were developed for use by psychologists working with nonhuman animals and discuss personnel, research justification, care and housing, aquisition of animals, experimental design, field research, and educational use of animals.
OIG Audit Report: APHIS Animal Care Program Inspection and Enforcement Activities, 2005 (PDF | 2.5 MB)
USDA. Office of Inspector General.
This report presents the results of our audit by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Animal Care (AC) unit, which has the responsibility of inspecting all facilities covered under the AWA and following up on complaints of abuse and noncompliance.