Animals in Laboratories

Hamster - Photo by captainmcdan

From the earliest days of the organization, AWI has worked to foster better care and handling of animals in research facilities by encouraging laboratory personnel to provide the animals with comfortable housing with conspecifics; veterinary treatment including pain relief; and the opportunity to engage in species-typical behaviors—while sparing them needless suffering.

AWI strongly supports Russell and Burch’s “3Rs”: replacement of animals in research with alternatives; reduction in the number of animals used in experiments; and refinement of the care and treatment of the animals who continue to be used in research, testing and education.

AWI provides funding to laboratory personnel to conduct research focused on improving the housing and handling of animals in research, and has been at the forefront of efforts to provide nonhuman primates with social housing which addresses their behavioral needs to the greatest extent possible. AWI is a strong proponent of teaching animals to cooperate during routine procedures rather than using stress-inducing removal from the home cage and forced restraint.

Strict enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, the major federal statute on the protection of animals in research, is one of AWI’s primary goals. Our relentless advocacy made the law’s enactment possible in 1966, and helped strengthen and broaden subsequent amendments. AWI remains committed to extending legal protections to all animals in research, including rats, mice and birds. AWI also seeks to end the sale of dogs and cats by random source Class B dealers to research facilities, as many such animals are acquired illegally and kept in squalid conditions.

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