University of Michigan Position Statement on Animal Research

Last Updated: September 2022

The University of Michigan supports the humane, judicious use of animals in research to advance scientific understanding and improve health outcomes for both humans and animals. Through projects that span a variety of fields – including medicine, dentistry, engineering, public health, kinesiology, and natural resources – animals have made critical contributions to human and veterinary medicine and saved countless lives.

As a public research university, we acknowledge the important obligation bestowed upon us to ensure that no animal is used needlessly and that animals are spared all unnecessary pain and distress. Our institution operates in accordance with all applicable rules and regulations that govern the responsible, humane use of animals in research and instruction. In addition to adhering to these standards, the University has many policies and controls in place to safeguard animal well-being and monitor all projects that involve the use of animals.

Before a U-M scientist can begin any activity involving the use of vertebrate animals or cephalopods, a detailed description of the project and its purpose must be approved by the Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee. This Committee includes members of the general public, veterinarians, experienced researchers, and non-scientists who review the goals, objectives, and benefits to certify that the project has appropriate merit. As part of the stringent review process, the Committee verifies that:

  • All animals will be provided with the best possible housing and care,
  • All personnel involved with the study have received requisite training, and
  • Proper procedures are in place to reduce as much pain and discomfort as possible.

All animals receive medical care from a team of highly trained and licensed veterinarians and veterinary technicians with specialized training in laboratory animal medicine. This care involves regular assessments of health and well-being; provision of food, water, and clean enclosures; species-specific socialization and enrichment; maintenance of appropriate environmental conditions; and attention to a wide range of physical and behavioral needs.

The University insists upon the humane and ethical treatment of all animals and is committed to ensuring that any individual who is afforded the privilege of working with animals under university auspices does so ethically, respectfully, and responsibly. We take this responsibility very seriously and recognize that we have an ethical imperative to continually refine our practices to provide the highest standards of compassionate care; reduce the number of animals used to the minimum necessary; and replace animals whenever possible.

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