Animal Testing and Research is Highly Regulated

Regulations for lab animals are more extensive than those for humans research subjects.

Oversight is essential for humane and responsible animal testing and research.

A comprehensive system of government oversight is in place to regulate the use of animals in testing and research.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has set forth federal regulations governing the care and use of laboratory animals in biomedical research that are more extensive than those covering human subjects. The federal law called the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) sets high standards of care for lab animals with regard to their housing, feeding, cleanliness, ventilation and medical needs. It also requires the use of anesthesia or analgesic drugs for potentially painful procedures and during post-operative care. Most importantly, research institutions are required – by law – to establish an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) to oversee all work with animals. The IACUCs require researchers to justify their need for animals; select the most appropriate species and use the fewest number of animals possible to answer a specific question. All IACUCs include at least one veterinarian and one community representative, unaffiliated with the institution. These committees have the authority to reject any research proposal and stop any project it believes has failed to meet proper standards. The U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) Act requires that all institutions receiving research funds from the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration or the Centers for Disease Control, adhere to the standards set out in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Under the PHS policy, institutions must follow detailed animal care recommendations and establish an IACUC to ensure that all animals are treated responsibly and humanely.

To learn more about the oversight of animal testing and research, visit the National Association for Biomedical Research’s website.

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