The use of animals is a privilege and animals must be treated respectfully, carefully, and responsibly. The laboratory animal science community is committed to the 3 Rs: replacement, reduction and refinement.
This commitment encourages those involved in biomedical research and product safety screening to “replace” animals with non-animal alternatives when possible and practical and, when alternatives are not acceptable for consumer safety screening, to “reduce” the number of animals needed for reliable information by improving study designs.
When animal use is absolutely necessary, everyone working with them is expected to provide humane and responsible care for them using study and husbandry practices that minimize stress and discomfort.
Research institutions are also required by law to establish an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). This committee oversees work done with animals and requires an outside member of the public, as well as a veterinarian, to oversee, inspect, and monitor every study planned to ensure optimal animal care.
A profession of specially trained and compassionate animal caregivers tend to the daily needs of laboratory animals and veterinarians are responsible for overseeing these animal care and use programs. Licensed veterinary medical technicians, laboratory animal technicians, and research technicians work together to ensure that research animals are healthy and comfortable.