Position Statement

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Animals in Research

Every effort must be made to ensure that no harm comes to research animals

American Humane advocates that every effort is made to ensure that no harm comes to any animal who participates in a research study. American Humane believes that there is much to learn about animals living closely to humans – in our homes, on our farms, and in natural environments around us. While such environments are complex, variables in these complex environments contribute to health and welfare and need to be studied and assessed.

While scientific progress has resulted from many experiments using laboratory animals, some projects in the past were poorly designed, unnecessary and inhumane. In any research project using laboratory animals, there should always be direct oversight by properly credentialed researchers, with all institutional and governmental regulations concerning animal research strictly adhered to. Animals used in research should have environments that provide safety, comfort, cleanliness and enrichment. Pain and fear should be controlled. There should be a clear-cut expectation that the experiment will contribute significantly to knowledge that will ultimately benefit animals and humans. In all cases the appropriate number of animals should be used for scientific validity and outcomes. Laboratory animals should not include those from animal shelters or animal control facilities, nor should they include other animals with unknown histories. Animals with unknown medical histories or drug administration can confound a scientific study.

It is incumbent upon every scientist to conduct extensive literature searches (U.S. and foreign), and to gather background information from multiple venues, prior to launching a study that involves animals. Research results, whether positive or negative, should be broadly disseminated and shared so as to reduce the number of studies and, therefore, the number of animals used in research. The goal for any scientific inquiry should be for a discovery that might advance animal or human health and/or welfare. In addition to funding research to treat disease, American Humane strongly supports prevention research that keeps animals and humans healthy.

American Humane acknowledges that legal requirements may necessitate animal testing before vaccines, drugs and other products can be approved for use. Many of these products are needed to advance human and animal health. American Humane supports changes in laws and regulations to eliminate unnecessary animal research and applauds those industries and governments that support scientific advancements for non-animal (alternative) testing. For research funded by the American Humane, scientists must agree that no animals will be harmed (e.g., no induction of illness or injury) and terminal endpoints are not allowed.