Research work on animals is important parts of biological fields.  The acquisition, care, housing, use, and disposition of animals in research must follow applicable local laws and regulations and institutional policies

  1. I. Justification of the Research
  2. A. Research should be undertaken with a clear scientific purpose. There should be a reasonable expectation that the research will
  3. a) Increase knowledge of the process underlying the evolution, development, maintenance, alteration, control, or biological significance of behavior;
  4. b) Determine the replicability and generality of prior research;
  5. c) Increase understanding of the species under study; or d) provides results that benefit the health or welfare of humans or other animals.
  6. B. The scientific purpose of the research should be of sufficient potential significance to justify the use of animals.
  7. C. In proposing a research project, the research should consider the possibility of non-animal alternatives, and use procedures that minimize the number of animals in research. If animals are to be used, the species chosen for the study should be the best suited to answer the question(s) posed.
  8. D. Research on animals may not be conducted until the protocol has been reviewed by an animal ethics sub- committee (AESC), to ensure that the procedures are appropriate and humane.
  9. E. The psychologist(s) should monitor the research and the subjects’ welfare throughout the course of an investigation to ensure continued justification for the research.
  10. II. Personnel
  11. A. Personnel involved in their research with animals be familiar with these guidelines.
  12. B. Research procedures with animals should conform to the Animal Welfare and applicable regulations, policies, and guidelines, regarding personnel, supervision, record keeping, and veterinary care.
  13. C. Behavioral characteristics of their animal subjects. Awareness of the difference between unusual behaviors and normal, species specific behaviors may allow for earlier assessment and treatment of health problems.
  14. D. All individuals who work with animals under their supervision receive explicit instruction in experimental methods and in the care, maintenance, and handling of the species being studied. The activities that any individuals can engage in must not exceed their respective competencies, training, and experience in either the laboratory or the field setting.

 III. Care and Housing of Laboratory Animals

  1. A. The facilities housing laboratory animals should meet or exceed current regulations and guidelines
  2. B. All procedures carried out on animals are to be reviewed by AESC
  3. C. Laboratory animals are to be provided with humane care and healthful conditions during their stay in any facilities of the institution. Responsibilities for the conditions under which animals are kept, both within and outside of the context of active experimentation or teaching, rests under the supervision and with individuals appointed by the institution to oversee laboratory animal care.
  4. IV. Acquisition of Laboratory Animals
  5. A. Laboratory animals not bred in the institution facility are to be acquired lawfully.
  6. B. Appropriate transportation of the animals to the facility provide adequate food, water, ventilation, space, and impose no unnecessary stress on the animals
  7. C. Animals taken from the wild should be trapped in a humane manner and in accordance with applicable local regulations.
  8. D. Use of endangered, threatened or imported animals must only be conducted with full attention to required permits and ethical concerns.
  9. V. Experimental Procedures
  10. A. Observational and other noninvasive forms of behavioral studies that involve no aversive stimulation to, or elicit no sign of distress from the animal are acceptable.
  11. B. Whenever possible behavioral procedures should be used that minimize discomfort to the animal.
  12. C. Procedures in which the research animal is anesthetized and insensitive to pain throughout the procedure, and is euthanized before regaining consciousness are generally acceptable.
  13. D. P r o c e d u r e s involving more than momentary or slight aversive stimulation, which is not relieved by medication or other acceptable methods, should be undertaken only when the objectives of the research cannot be achieved by other methods.
  14. E. Experimental procedures that require prolonged aversive conditions or produce tissue damage or metabolic disturbances require greater justification and surveillance by the AESC.

A research animal observed to be in a state of severe distress or chronic pain that cannot be alleviated and is not essential to the purposes of the research should be euthanized immediately

  1. F. Procedures that employ restraint must conform to federal regulations and guidelines.
  2. G. Procedures involving the use of paralytic agents without reduction in pain sensation require prudence and humane concern. Use of muscle relaxants or paralytics alone during surgery, without anesthesia, is unacceptable.
  3. H. Surgical procedures, because of their invasive nature, require close supervision and attention to humane considerations.
  • Aseptic (methods that minimize risks of infection) techniques must be used on laboratory animals whenever possible.
  • All surgical procedures and anesthetization should be conducted under the direct supervision of a person who is trained and competent in the use of the procedures.
  • Unless there is specific justification for acting otherwise, research animals should be maintained under anesthesia until all surgical procedures are ended.
  • Postoperative monitoring and care, which may include the use of analgesics and antibiotics, should be provided to minimize discomfort, prevent infection and promote recovery from the procedure.
  • In general, laboratory animals should not be subjected to successive survival surgical procedures, except as required by the nature of the research, the nature of the specific surgery, or for the well-being of the animal.
  • Multiple surgeries on the same animal must be justified and receive approval from the AESC.
  1. I. To minimize the number of animals used, multiple research uses of individual animals should be considered. Such uses must be compatible with the goals of the research, sound scientific practice, and the welfare of the animal.
  2. J. To ensure their humane treatment and well-being, laboratory animals generally may not be released from institutional facilities. Animals reared in the laboratory must not be released into the wild because, in most cases, they cannot survive or they may survive by disrupting the natural ecology. Return of any wild-caught animal to the field also carries risks, both to the formerly captive animals and to the ecosystem.
  3. K. When euthanasia is appropriate, either as a requirement of the research or because it constitutes the most humane form of disposition of animal after the research:
  4. 1. Euthanasia must be accomplished in a humane manner, appropriate for the species and age, and in such a way as to ensure immediate death, and in accordance with procedures outlined in (American Veterinary Medical Association) Guidelines on Euthanasia
  5. 2. Disposal of euthanized laboratory y animals must be conducted in accord with all relevant legislation, consistent with health, environmental, and aesthetic concerns, and as approved by AESC. No animal shall be discarded until its death is verified.
  6. VI. Field Research

 Field research that carries a risk of materially altering the behavior of  animals and/or producing damage to sensitive ecosystems is subject to IACUC approval. Field research, if strictly observational, may not require animal care committee approval

  1. A. In field research, researcher should disturb their populations as little as possible, while acting consistent with the goals of the research. Every effort should be made to minimize potential harmful effects of the study on the population and on other plant and animal species in the area.
  2. B. Research conducted in populated areas must be done with respect for the property and privacy of the inhabitants of the area.
  3. C. Such research on endangered species should not be conducted unless AESC approval has been obtained and all requisite permits are obtained

VII. Educational Use of Animals Laboratory exercises as well as classroom demonstrations involving live animals are of great value as instructional aids.

  1. A. Animals may be used for educational purposes only after review by AESC appropriate to the institution.
  2. B. Consideration should be given to the possibility of using non-animal alternatives. Some procedures that can be justified for research purposes may not be justified for educational purposes.



  1. 1. American Psychological Association. (2010). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct (2002, Amended June 1, 2010). Retrieved September 19, 2011 from http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/ index.aspx
  2. 2. American Veterinary Medical Association (2007) AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia. Retrieved April 8, 2010 from http:// www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/ euthanasia.pdf
  3. 3. Animal Welfare Act 7 U.S.C. § 2131 et seq. Retrieved April 8, 2010 from http:// awic.nal.usda.gov/nal_display/index. php?info_center=3&tax_level=3&tax_ subject=182&topic_id=1118&level3_ id=6735
  4. 4. National Institutes of Health Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (2002). Public Health Service policy on the humane care and use of laboratory animals. Bethesda, MD: NIH. Retrieved September 27, 2011 from http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/ references/phspol.htm
  5. 5. National Research Council (20 06). Guidelines for the humane transportation of research animals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
  6. 6. U. S. Department of Agriculture (1989) Animal welfare; Final Rules. Federal Register, 54(168), (Aug 31, 1989), 36112- 36163.
  7. 7. U. S. Department of Agriculture (1990) Guinea pigs, hamsters, and rabbits; Final Rule. Federal Register, 55(136), (July 16, 1990), 28879-28884.
  8. 8. U. S. Department of Agriculture (1991) Animal welfare; Standards; Part 3, Final Rule. Federal Register, 55(32), (Feb 15, 1991), 6426-6505.
  9. 9. U. S. Department of Agriculture (2000) Field study; Definition; Final Rule. Federal Register, 65(27), (Feb 9, 2000), 6312-6314. Additional Resources 1. Dess, N. K. & Foltin, R. W. (2004).