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Animals, Care and Use of in Research and Education


To ensure that animal care and use on the University of Kansas Lawrence campus is performed in accordance with the United States Department of Agriculture Animal Welfare Act and Regulations and the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.   

Applies to: 

Persons affiliated with the University of Kansas, Lawrence campus, conducting research, and teaching involving vertebrate animals. 

Policy Statement: 

The use of animals in teaching and research at the University of Kansas, Lawrence campus, must comply with the following public laws, policies, and guidelines:

See the Animal Care Unit for elaboration of policies and procedures relevant to research involving vertebrate animals.

Exclusions or Special Circumstances: 

The policy does not apply to non-vertebrate animals or to office pets.


Dr. Asheley Brook Wathen
Director, Animal Care Unit and University Attending Veterinarian

Approved by: 
Associate Vice Provost, Office of Research
Approved on: 
Friday, November 2, 2007
Effective on: 
Friday, November 2, 2007
Review Cycle: 
Semiannual (Twice a Year)

Reduction, Replacement, Refinement

It is the stated aim of all medical researchers to use as few animals and as responsibly as possible. Ultimately it would be ideal if the use of animals could be totally replaced by non-clinical methods. Unfortunately few of these currently exist and where they do they are often not yet fully accepted by the world's regulatory authorities. This means that the use of animals will continue for some time to come.

However, the search for alternatives continues and is guided by the principle of the 3 R's. This stands for:

  • Replacement
  • Reduction
  • Refinement


In recent years there have been advances in non-animal techniques. These include computer modeling, cell cultures and in vitro (literally in glass - test tube) techniques. In some cases these techniques, can replace some of the existing animal tests but it will be many years before all animal tests will be made redundant by non-animal techniques.


Quite simply this means that fewer animals are being used in many areas of medical research. Scientists are now able to be more confident in the results they have achieved. This confidence means that fewer animals are required to be sure that the results are valid.


This concerns the manner in which the animals are treated. Refinements are methods that alleviate or minimize potential pain and distress and enhance animal well-being. Potential pain and distress can be avoided or alleviated with proper use of anesthetics, analgesics and tranquilizers. The principle of Refinement ensures that if an animal is involved in scientific research, it is treated with care and respect and suffers as little as possible.

It is a common misconception that animals are used because they offer a 'cheap alternative' to non-animal techniques. The reverse is in fact true.


AVMA: American Veterinary Medical Association

Animal experimentation; field work; Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee; IACUC; Animal Care Unit; ACU; vertebrate animals; Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care; AALAC
Change History: 

12/10/2018: Updated Contract section.
11/30/2018: Corrected spelling error.
06/01/2015: Updated applies to.
05/28/2015: Linked policy to updated Euthanasia Guidelines
05/27/2015: Updated purpose, applies to, link name, removed AAALAC link, updated contact info
12/18/2014: Fixed broken links due to Animal Care Unit's recent website update.
11/06/2014: Policy formatting cleanup (e.g., bolding, spacing).
06/16/2014: Updated Approved by to reflect official title but not individual name; updated links to policies and pages referenced.
11/02/2007: Revised.

Operational Categories: 
Health & Safety
Research and Sponsored Projects Category: 
Research and Sponsored Projects

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