ORI Introduction to RCR: Chapter 4. The Welfare of Laboratory Animals
Animal research is as carefully regulated as human research, but for different reasons. With humans, regulation stems from the need to assure that the benefits all humans gain from human research do not impose unacceptable burdens on some research participants. Animals may benefit from the information gained through animal experimentation and some research with animals is conducted specifically for the purpose of improving animal health (veterinary medicine and animal husbandry research). But most animal research is conducted primarily for the benefit of humans, not animals. Moreover, unlike humans, animals cannot consent to participate in experiments or comment on their treatment, creating special needs that should be taken into consideration in their care and use.
The special needs of animals have evolved over timeinto policies for the appropriate care and use of all animals involved in research, research training, and biological testing activities. Researchers can meet their responsibilities by:
- knowing what activities are subject to regulation,
- understanding and following the rules for project approval,
- obtaining appropriate training, and
- accepting continuing responsibility for compliance through all stages of a project.
If you expect to use or study living animals in your research, regardless of the level of invasiveness, familiarize yourself with your responsibilities and check with someone in a position of authority before making any plans or undertaking any work.
How do reserchers decide which animals are used in research