Principles for the Care and Use of Animals Used in Testing,
Research, and Education
The principles below were prepared by the Interagency Research
Animal Committee. This committee, which was established in 1983,
serves as a focal point for federal agencies' discussions of issues
involving all animal species needed for biomedical research and
testing. The committee's principal concerns are the conservation,
use, care, and welfare of research animals. Its responsibilities
include information exchange, program coordination, and
contributions to policy development.
Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals
Used in Testing, Research and Training.
The development of knowledge necessary for the improvement of
the health and well-being of humans as well as other animals
requires in vivo experimentation with a wide variety of animals
species. Whenever U.S. Government agencies develop requirements for
testing, research, or training procedures involving the use of
vertebrate animals, the following principles shall be considered;
and whenever these agencies actually perform or sponsor such
procedures, the responsible institutional official shall ensure
that these principles are adhered to:
- The transportation, care, and use of animals should be in
accordance with the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. 2131 et seq.) and
other applicable Federal laws, guidelines and policies.
- Procedures involving animals should be designed and performed
with due consideration of their relevance to human or animal
health, the advancement of knowledge, or the good of society.
- The animals selected for a procedure should be of an
appropriate species and quality and the minimum number required to
obtain valid results. Methods such as mathematical models, computer
simulation, and in vitro biological systems should be
- Proper use of animals, including the avoidance or
minimization of discomfort, distress, and pain when consistent with
sound scientific practices, is imperative. Unless the contrary is
established, investigators should consider that procedures which
cause pain or distress in human beings may cause pain or distress
in other animals.
- Procedures with animals that may cause more than momentary or
slight pain or distress should be performed with appropriate
sedation, analgesia, or anesthesia. Surgical or other painful
procedures should not able performed on unanesthetized animals
paralyzed by chemical agents.
- Animals that would otherwise suffer severe or chronic pain or
distress that cannot be relieved should be painlessly killed at the
end of the procedure or, if appropriate, during the procedure.
- The living conditions of animals should be appropriate for
their species and contribute to their health and comfort. Normally,
the housing, feeding, and care of all animals used for biomedical
purposes must be directed by a veterinarian or other scientist
trained and experienced in the proper care, handling, and use of
the species being maintained or studied. In any case, veterinary
care shall be provided as indicated.
- Investigators and other personnel shall be appropriately
qualified and experienced for conducting procedures on living
animals. Adequate arrangements shall be made for their in-service
training, including the proper and humane care and use of
- Where exceptions are required in relation to the provisions
of these principles, the decisions should not rest with the
investigators directly concerned but should be made, with due
regard to Principle II. by an appropriate review group such as an
institutional animal research committee. Such exceptions should not
be made solely for the purposes of teaching or demonstration.
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