Research Ethics Resource Center - Research Involving Animals

What is 'Research Involving Animals?'

    If you are using vertebrates in your data collection, WMU considers it research involving animals. All projects involving animals must be approved by the WMU Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) prior to implementation. IACUC regulations require you to receive appropriate training in the particular species involved in your research.

Ethical Principles for Conducting Research on Animals


Policies and regulations governing animal research


Training Modules

    Most of these sites provide free online training in the ethical and humane use of animals in research. Sites that require payment are documented as such.

  • The Laboratory Animal Training Association (LATA)
    WMU requires certain researchers to obtain LATA training. Please check with your instructor whether you are one of them. The modules are interactive and include basics such as ethics, regulation, alternatives; species specific information; and techniques.
  • Experimental Animal User Training Core Topics Modules by Canadian Council on Animal Care
    Twelve web-based modules covering core topics for all animal users. Questions are listed at the end of each module to highlight key elements.
  • Online Tutorial for the PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Lab Animals source: Office of Lab Animal Welfare, NIH
  • The Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT)
    Twelve audio lectures, presented via Realplayer, each 20-30 minutes. They provide a broad overview of diverse topics in the practice of and approach to humane animal experimentation. The lectures address issues such as experimental design (including statistics and sample size determination), humane endpoints, environmental enrichment, post-surgical care, pain management, and the impact of stress on the quality of data. Includes resources, references and study questions.


    This site serves as a secure and confidential source for anyone who wishes to report any specific concerns about the well-being of animals used for experimentation, testing and/or teaching:
    • whether it involves one animal or many animals;
    • whether the concern is for animals in one laboratory cage, animals used by one principal investigator or animals throughout an institution; and
    • whether or not there has been a violation of any law or guideline.

Developments (information will be added on an ongoing basis)

  • Scanner could end animal tests BBC News, September 5, 2006
  • Scientist finds the beginnings of morality in primate behavior by Nicholas Wade, The New York Times, March 20, 2007
    Some animals are surprisingly sensitive to the plight of others. Chimpanzees, who cannot swim, have drowned in zoo moats trying to save others. Given the chance to get food by pulling a chain that would also deliver an electric shock to a companion, rhesus monkeys will starve themselves for several days. Biologists argue that these and other social behaviors are the precursors of human morality.

Related Sites

  • Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees source:
  • Animal Welfare Position Statements The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
  • Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC)
    AWIC is part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The web site provides information about the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) , which is the law governing the humane treatment of animals in research, teaching, and testing. Make sure to check out the link for Alternatives.
  • Animal Welfare Institute
    Contains numerous resources for enrichment of animal environments in laboratories and other settings, information on how to address problem behaviors in animals, access to online journals and books, its own annotated bibliography, links to guides and laws related to animal research. Excellent resource on new technological advances and ways to make animal research more humane.
  • NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW)
    OLAW monitors compliance of research with the Public Health Service Policy on the Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, which applies to all research funded by the National Institutes of Health. The OLAW Page has information and a tutorial on the PHS Policy, as well as a link to the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.
  • Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR)
    ILAR is part of the National Academy of Sciences. It conducts studies on topics related to research animal welfare. It also has guidelines for the use of animals in the classroom.
  • Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT)
    CAAT promotes the use of alternatives to animal testing through the "three Rs," which refers to efforts to refine tests to lessen animal pain and distress, reduce the number of animals needed for a test, and replace animals with non-animal methods or lower-order animals.



Questions? Email our research compliance coordinator.

Office of the Vice President for Research
Western Michigan University
210 W Walwood Hall
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5456 USA
(269) 387-8298 | (269) 387-8276 Fax