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ORI Introduction to RCR: Chapter 4. The Welfare of Laboratory Animals

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The term “animal” is defined differently in the statutes, codes, policies, and guidelines that govern animal research. Federally funded research is guided by two key definitions:
 
  • The PHS Policy, which applies to all PHS-funded activities involving animals, defines “animals” as “any live, vertebrateanimals used or intended for use in research, research training, experimentation, or biological testing or for related purposes.”
  • The Federal Code that implements the Animal Welfare Act (Title 9) covers warm-blooded animals but excludes “[b]irds, rats of the genus Rattus and mice of the genus Mus bred for use in research, and horses not used for research purposes and other farm animals….”
 
Many institutions apply uniform and consistent standards to all activities involving animals regardless of the source of funding or legal requirements as a way of ensuring broad compliance with all regulations covering the care and use of animals in research.
 
Researchers are not authorized to make decisions about covered or excluded research themselves. Therefore, anyone who plans to use animals in research, teaching, testing and other covered activities is well advised to assume a broad definition and to consult with their institutional committee (see below) before ordering animals or beginning work.