University of Michigan Position Statement on Animal Research

Last Updated: October 2019

The University of Michigan appreciates that animals have been essential to nearly every major advancement in human and animal medicine. Through projects that span a variety of fields, including medicine, dentistry, engineering, public health, kinesiology, and natural resources, the scientific and medical knowledge developed through animal research has saved countless lives. In the continued pursuit of innovative scientific breakthroughs to benefit both human and animal health, the University supports the judicious, responsible use of animals in research.

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. In addition to adhering to all applicable federal, state, and local rules and regulations that govern the use of vertebrate animals, the University also has many policies and controls in place to monitor every project that uses, or proposes to use, animals in research and instruction.

Before a U-M scientist can begin an activity involving animals, 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, non-scientists, veterinarians, and experienced researchers. Through rigorous and well-established procedures similar to those used to monitor human subjects research, the Committee reviews the goals, objectives, and benefits of the proposed research to certify that the project has appropriate merit. It verifies that all animals will be provided with the best possible housing and care, ensures that all personnel conducting animal activities have received appropriate training, and that practices and procedures are in place to reduce as much pain or discomfort as possible.

The proper care of animals involves attending to a range of physical and behavioral needs. Accordingly, highly-trained, licensed veterinarians and veterinary technicians with specialized training in laboratory animal medicine provide medical care for all animals at the University.

The University insists upon the humane and ethical treatment of all animals involved in research and instruction, and is firmly committed to the three Rs principle of biomedical research: reduce the number of animals used to the minimum necessary, replace animals with other options whenever possible, and refine our practices to provide the highest standards of humane and compassionate animal care at all times, and in all circumstances.

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