Animal Use in Research

SPS Support for Research Animal Transportation

The Safety Pharmacology Society recognizes that scientific and medical knowledge developed through animal research has saved countless lives, has improved human and animal health, and has alleviated pain and suffering. We support the judicious use of animals in research, education, and testing in the interests of human and animal welfare.

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To learn more about the safe transport of research animals by air and why it is such an important issue, see the transportation statements from a number of national and international organizations in support of human and animal health.


Animal Welfare Information Center

The Animal Welfare Information Center is part of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Library (NAL) in Beltsville, Maryland. The Center was established in 1986 with its mission clearly provided in the 1985 amendments to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA): The Secretary [of Agriculture] shall establish an information service at the National Agricultural Library. Such service shall, in cooperation with the National Library of Medicine, provide information

  1. pertinent to employee training;
  2. which could prevent unintended duplication of animal experimentation as determined by the needs of the research facility; and
  3. on improved methods of animal experimentation, including methods which could
    1. reduce or replace animal use; and
    2. minimize pain and distress to animals, such as anesthetic and analgesic procedures.

The focus of the Center's information products, services, and activities is to help the regulated community with employee training and to promote the humane care and use of animals by providing information on alternatives (improved methods of animal experimentation which could reduce or replace animal use or minimize pain and distress to animals – the “3Rs”). AWIC also provides support to other USDA agencies such as the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, (USDA) Animal Care, and the Agricultural Research Service.

American Association for Laboratory Animal Science

The American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) is an association of professionals that advances responsible laboratory animal care and use to benefit people and animals.

AALAS is a membership association of professionals employed around the world in academia, government, and private industry who are dedicated to the humane care and treatment of laboratory animals, as well as the quality research that leads to scientific gains that benefit people and animals. AALAS provides educational materials to laboratory animal care professionals and researchers, administers certification programs for laboratory animal technicians and managers, publishes scholarly journals, supports laboratory animal science research, and serves as the premier forum for the exchange of information and expertise in the care and use of laboratory animals.

The Recognition and Alleviation of Pain and Distress

Association for the Assessment and Accreditation for Laboratory Animal Care International

The Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC International) is a voluntary accrediting organization that enhances the quality of research, teaching, and testing by promoting humane, responsible animal care and use. It provides advice and independent assessments to participating institutions and accredits those that meet or exceed applicable standards.

European Society of Laboratory Animal Veterinarians (ESLAV)—European College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ECLAM)

Legislation and Guidelines

The European Society of Laboratory Animal Veterinarians (ESLAV) gives veterinarians a forum to discuss issues which concern them, in the field of laboratory animal science, in general and in Europe specifically. The society's objectives are to promote and disseminate expert veterinary knowledge within the field of laboratory animal science.

The European College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ECLAM) is a veterinary specialty organisation established within Europe for the specialty of laboratory animal medicine (LAM).The primary objectives of the College shall be to further scientific progress in Laboratory Animal Medicine in Europe and increase the competency of those who practise in this field.

Foundation for Biomedical Research

The Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) is the nation’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to improving human and veterinary health by promoting public understanding and support for humane and responsible animal research. FBR is the leading voice of scientific reason and medical progress in the ongoing, sometimes violent debate that surrounds animal research. FBR is the leading voice of scientific reason and medical progress in the ongoing, sometimes violent debate that surrounds animal research.

Institute for Laboratory Animal Research

The mission of the Institute for Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR) is to evaluate and to report on scientific, technological, and ethical use of animals and related biological resources, and of non-animal alternatives in non-food settings, such as research, testing, education, and production of pharmaceuticals. ILAR seeks to identify practices that provide for excellence in the welfare of animals used for these purposes, recognizing their moral value while achieving high-quality science. ILAR evaluates and encourages the use, development, and validation of non-animal alternatives. ILAR provides independent, objective advice to the federal government, to the international biomedical community, and to the public through reports of expert committees, web-based resources , and other means of communication.

International Council for Laboratory Animal Science

The Mission of the International Council for Laboratory Animal Science (ICLAS) encompass the following aims:

National Association for Biomedical Research

Founded in 1979, the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR) provides the unified voice for the scientific community on legislative and regulatory matters affecting laboratory animal research. NABR works to safeguard the future of biomedical research on behalf of its more than 350 public and private universities, medical and veterinary schools, teaching hospitals, voluntary health agencies, professional societies, pharmaceutical and biotech industries, and other animal research-related firms that are:

  1. involved directly in the use of animals in biomedical research and are
  2. committed to the responsible and humane use of these animals.

NABR is the only national, nonprofit organization dedicated solely to advocating for sound public policy that recognizes the vital role animals play in biomedical research. Behind every medical discovery lies years, and sometimes lifetimes, spent in pursuit of answers that ultimately save lives. The ability to study whole living organisms is an indispensable element in medical progress, and NABR works to protect the ability of biomedical researchers to use animals in ethical and responsible research that will one day benefit the health of people and animals.

National Centre for the Replacement Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research

The National Centre for the Replacement Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) is the UK's national organisation which leads the discovery and application of new technologies and approaches to replace, reduce and refine the use of animals for scientific purposes (the 3Rs)…collaborate with scientists and organisations from across the life sciences sector, nationally and internationally, including universities, the pharmaceutical, chemical and consumer products industries, other research funders, and regulatory authorities…fund 3Rs, research, training and career development, support open innovation and commercialisation of 3Rs technologies, and stimulate changes in policy, regulations and practice relating to the use of animals.

Society of Toxicology

The Society of Toxicology (SOT) is a professional and scholarly organization of scientists from academic institutions, government, and industry representing the great variety of scientists who practice toxicology in the US and abroad. SOT is committed to creating a safer and healthier world by advancing the science of toxicology. The Society promotes the acquisition and utilization of knowledge in toxicology, aids in the protection of public health, and facilitates disciplines. The Society has a strong commitment to education in toxicology and to the recruitment of students and new members into the profession.

The Use of Animals in Research

A selection of materials details more about SOT’s commitment to the effective and humane use of animals in research, and how toxicology research using animals protects human health and the environment.

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Other Research Societies and Groups Related to Animals in Research

Resources and Related Links

A Language and Messaging Guide for Scientists Discussing Humane, Responsible Animal Research

  1. Whenever possible, the expression animal research should be preceded by the descriptive adjectives: humane, responsible. Unless you are discussing a rare instance of noncompliance in animal care, or historical research that preceded modern animal care techniques, this is almost always appropriate.
  2. Whenever possible, discuss your need for animals, or your study of animals as opposed to your use of animals. Avoid the phrase “research on animals” in favor of “working with animals.”
  3. The notion that there is an essential need for humane, responsible animal research should be reinforced as often as possible.
  4. Avoid the words experiment, experimenting and experimentation. The anti-research movement prefers these words because they can have a sinister connotation.
  5. Under no circumstances should you repeat the word torture—even if you are accused of it. Animal research is conducted according to humane and responsible standards—it is not a sadistic practice. As a general rule, do not repeat any language used in a false and inflammatory accusation against you.
  6. Do not use the words vivisection or anti-vivisection. Vivisector is a label that animal activists use to make researchers sound cruel and sinister. Vivisection, in fact, is simply an experimental surgery on a living being.
  7. When describing researchers and scientists who study animals, don’t hesitate to use a possessive pronoun, for example, researchers take good care of our animals or researchers take good care of their animals versus researchers take good care of the animals.
  8. Remember that our goal is to promote public understanding, respect, and appreciation for humane, responsible animal research in order to build public acceptance and support for the practice. Our goal is not to promote animal research per se. The difference is very significant and distinguishes scientists and researchers from commercial interests.
  9. Promote the fact that veterinary health and medicine is advanced along with human health and medicine through humane, responsible animal research.
  10. Avoid medical and scientific jargon as well as technical explanations of complex scientific concepts.

Relevant policy statements from other professional societies

American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine Public Statement: Medical Records for Animals Used in Research, Teaching and Testing.

APS Guiding Principles for the Care and Use of Animals—American Physiological Society.

FASEB Statement of Principles for the Use of Animals in Research and Education

The Use of Animals in Teaching the Biomedical Sciences—American Physiological Society

Principles and Guidelines for the Use of Animals in Precollege Education—Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources, National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences

The Use of Animals in Biology Education—National Association of Biology Teachers

Understanding Animal Research in Medicine—RDS (Research Defense Society)


For Children and Educators