Humane Care and Use of Animals in Research

This is a set of online modules introducing you to the use of animals in research. The main text provides a useful overview, but each unit also has reading assignments, study questions, and a discussion forum for more in-depth understanding.


This site, developed at North Carolina State University, is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) sponsored project, under the direction of George Barthalmus, Director of Undergraduate Research. The materials were written by Richard E. Fish, Director of University Animal Resources and Associate Professor of Laboratory Animal Medicine at NC State. Technical consultants: Elliott Fisher and Daniel Underwood. Faculty interested in using these materials for course credit, or in using this online "course" for credit, should contact Dr. Barthalmus.

All materials used in these modules are used with permission or pursuant to the fair use provisions of Section 107 of Title 17, the United States Copyright law. Further uses may be subject to the copyright law. The materials under copyright to the authors may be used for non-profit educational purposes, if given the customary attribution. Commercial use is prohibited. This material is based in part upon work supported by the Office of Research Integrity, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ORI or NCSU.
© 2003 Richard E. Fish



Why do we care about the humane care and use of animals in research?

Unit OneEthics of Animal Use

This unit starts at the beginning by asking you to think about the human-animal relationship, both intuitively and in terms of basic ethical theories.


Unit TwoLaws, Regulations, and Policies Affecting the Care and Use of Animals in Research

Here we look at the regulations affecting use of animals in research in greater depth, and consider the responsibilities of the institution, animal care and use committee, research staff, and veterinarian.


Unit ThreePain and Distress

Humane care and use of animals relies on an understanding of animal pain and distress, from biological, ethical, and legal perspectives.


Unit FourAnimal Husbandry and the Animal Facility

The appropriate care and use of animals requires an understanding of the importance of husbandry and the animal environment, not only for humane reasons, but also to control unwanted variation during experimentation.


Unit FiveAnimal Models and Biomethodology

In this unit, we look at the basics of choosing an animal model, including considerations for biomethodology (handling and restraint, sample collection, anesthesia and surgery, etc.)