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General Information

NIH's Tutorial on the Public Health Service Animal Welfare Policy ( introduces you to the regulations and guidelines governing the use of animals in biomedical research.

Biosafety in Animal Facilities

CDC publishes several documents about Hantavirus, including guidelines for working with wild rodents in laboratory situations. (

Animal Alternatives

Search the literature for Alternatives using the University of California Center for Animal Alternatives

Specific Laws and Related Documents

IACUC, NCSU Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee Website

ILAR's Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, available from the National Academy Press, provides standards for the care and use of live, vertebrate animals in biomedical research.

Title 9, Code of Federal Regulations contains large sections of regulation enforcing the federal Animal Welfare Act. These regulations have the force of law and govern many aspects of laboratory animal care and use. ( (

The Health Research Extension Act (HREA) is the law that provides funding for the National Institutes of Health and certain other federal funding agencies. It's animal welfare provisions apply to all facilities that accept federal funds and use live vertebrate animals in research. (

The passage of the HREA led to the drafting of the US Public Health Service Policy which instructs research facilities how they must conduct themselves to receive federal funding for research involving live, vertebrate animals. (

The Institute for Laboratory Animal Resoures (ILAR)

Receipt of federal funding requires institutions to provide animal care in accordance with the National Research Council's ILAR Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. (

ILAR also publishes a number of useful documents about laboratory animals including:

Principles and Guidelines for the Use of Animals in Pre College Education. The use of animals in secondary schools is unregulated. If you work with pre-college students or science fairs, this is a must read document.

Standardized Nomenclature for Transgenic Animals

Amphibians: Guidelines for the Breeding, Care, and Management of Laboratory Animals

American Veterinary Medical Association

The AVMA's Panel on Euthanasia uses the best scientific evidence to determine what methods of euthanasia are professionally acceptable. This document has been incorporated into both the Animal Welfare Act and the Public Health Service Policy as the single authoritative document determining how research animals may be euthanized.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service - Animal Care enforces the federal Animal Welfare Act. They have a network of Animal Welfare Inspectors throughout the US. They have been known to visit UC Davis as frequently as 50 times per year. All USDA inspections are unannounced, and they have a right to visit any animal holding area and any research lab in which animals are used.

Of particular interest is their collection of policy and enforcement guidelines for USDA Inspectors. These policies determine many of the actions that our IACUC must take as they inspect facilities and review protocols.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The National Institutes of Health's Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) ensures that facilities receiving federal funds follow all current federal Guidelines. OLAW is responsible for both human subjects and animal welfare issues.

In order to receive federal funds for animal research, and institution must file an Animal Welfare Assurance with OLAW. OLAW maintains a database of all US institutions that have filed Animal Welfare Assurances. NIH also maintains the CRISP Database of federally funded research projects.

OLAW has also recently issued a policy statement about the production of monoclonal antibodies in mice. Investigators who produce monoclonal antibodies in mice are now required to specifically justify why an in-vitro method would not be suitable for their project.

The Food and Drug Administration

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets the standards for research performed in the act of proving the safety and efficacy of new drugs. Any data used to prove the safety and efficacy of a new drug must be performed according the FDA's Good Laboratory Practices, including special provisions for non-clinical trials.

FDA also protects the human food chain by determining what drugs may be lawfully used in food animals. They enforce regulations dealing with the extra label use of drugs in food animals. FDA has also issued a policy statement about the use of toe-clipping as a means of identification in rodents.


The Association for Accreditation and Assessment of Laboratory Care, International AALAC) is a voluntary accrediting body that visits institutions and assures their compliance with all existing laws, regulations, and guidelines. Over 80% of the top 100 federally funded research facilities in the United States are accredited by AAALAC. AAALAC publishes a list of AAALAC Accredited Institutions. They also provide a series of carefully considered position statements about a variety of program issues, including adequate veterinary care, occupational health programs, farm animals, survival surgical facilities, etc.


The American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine is a professional specialty board that certifies veterinarians with special expertise in Laboratory Animal Medicine. Of particular interest is their public policy statement on Adequate Veterinary Care, which provides a professional consensus as to what constitutes adequate veterinary care for research animals.

Other Research Institutions

IACUC Web Pages at other research facilities.

The University of Florida has used USDA data to graph the numbers of research animals used in the United States over the past 3 years and over the past 20 years.

Advocacy Groups

Americans for Medical Progress is a pro-research lobbying group. They have a great history page about discoveries made through animal research. If you receive requests for general information about biomedical research, this is a great place to refer them.

Animals in Science is a web publication by the Minnesota branch of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. The page provides K-12 students, teachers, and others with basic information about the use of animals in research.

The National Association for Biomedical Research is a lobbying group that represents the research community in Washington, D.C.

The American Association for Laboratory Animal Science provides a certification program for animal care staff. AALAS promotes responsible animal care through its programs of training and education.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is a group that actively promotes animal rights.