Regulations and Requirements

Guidelines and federal regulations governing animal research are available at the external links presented below. These web sites and documents are for reference and may be used as companion documents for Princeton’s policies, practices, and standard operating procedures. 

Federal Regulations and Granting Agency Requirements

  • Animal Welfare Act is the only federal law in the United States that regulates the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport, and by dealers. Other laws, policies, and guidelines may include additional species coverage or specifications for animal care and use, but all refer to the Animal Welfare Act as the minimum acceptable standard. The Act is enforced by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 
  • Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals  is the Policy of the Public Health Service (PHS) that requires institutions to establish and maintain proper measures to ensure the appropriate care and use of all animals involved in research, research training, and biological testing activities (hereinafter referred to as activities) conducted or supported by the PHS. The PHS endorses the “U.S. Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals Used in Testing, Research, and Training” developed by the Interagency Research Animal Committee. This Policy is intended to implement and supplement those Principles. 

Standards and Best Practice Guidebooks

  • AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Laboratory Animals: 2013 Edition  The 2013 Edition of the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals was recently revised and released.   Substantive changes since the 2007 edition include species-specific sections describing various techniques in detail (inhaled, noninhaled and physical methods), specific advice is provided for the euthanasia of companion animals, laboratory animals, animals farmed for food and fiber, equids, avians, fish and aquatic invertebrates, and captive and free-ranging nondomestic animals. Recommendations relating to a particular species may be located within the guidelines by using Appendix 1 “Agents and methods of euthanasia by species,” which references the section(s) within the document that should be consulted. New figures and tables provide helpful guidance in the application of specific techniques.
  • Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (8th Edition) is an internationally accepted primary reference on animal care and use developed to assist institutions in caring for and using animals in ways judged to be scientifically, technically, and humanely appropriate. The Guide is also intended to assist investigators in fulfilling their obligation to plan and conduct animal experiments in accord with the highest scientific, humane, and ethical principles. Its use is required in the United States by the Public Health Service Policy.

Field Research

Additional Government Resources

  • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA, is a multi-faceted federal agency with a broad mission area that includes protecting and promoting U.S. agricultural health, regulating genetically engineered organisms, administering the Animal Welfare Act, and carrying out wildlife damage management activities.  These efforts support the overall mission of USDA, which is to protect and promote food, agriculture, natural resources, and related issues.
  • Animal Welfare Information Center is mandated by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to provide information for improved animal care and use in research, testing, teaching, and exhibition.
  • Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare provides guidance and interpretation of the Public Health Service (PHS) Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. The office also supports educational programs and monitors compliance with the policy by assured institutions and PHS-funded components to ensure the humane care and use of animals in PHS-supported research, testing, and training, thereby contributing to the quality of PHS-supported activities.
  • What Investigators Need to Know About the Use of Animals (2016) reflects the current requirements of NIH grants policy and applicability of the PHS Policy to VA, NASA and NSF surrported activities through memoranda of understanding. This publication provides an overview of investigator responsibilities when conducting research with animals. It is a helpful resource that covers the PHS Policy requirements, what needs to be described in a grant application, what to include in an IACUC protocol, and guidance for avoiding noncompliance while conducting research. This is an at-a-glance, printer-friendly factsheet.

Additional Professional Resources

  • Americans for Medical Progress is dedicated to supporting biomedical research through public outreach that builds understanding and appreciation for necessary and humane animal research. 
  • Foundation for Biomedical Research provides information about the essential role of biomedical research in the quest for medical advancements, treatments and cures for both people and animals. 
  • IACUC.ORG is an information resource for members and staff of institutional animal care and use committees from American Association for Laboratory Animal Science.
  • Institute for Laboratory Animal Research provides independent, objective evaluations and reports on scientific, technological, and ethical use of animals and related biological resources, and of non-animal alternatives, such as research, testing, education, and production of pharmaceuticals. 
  • New Jersey Association for Biomedical Research advocates for the availability of appropriate research models through the continuing improvement of laboratory animal welfare and public understanding of the role and value of animal research. 
  • Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research advances the highest ethical standards in the conduct of biomedical, social science, behavioral, and educational research through education, membership services, professional certification, and public policy initiatives.
  • Use of Controlled Substances provides guidance for researchers planning to work with controlled substances so they understand their responsibility for complying with the relevant state and federal regulations governing the use of these substances whether for veterinary care and laboratory research applications.

Additional Training Resources

  • OLAW Training Resources  Offers a variety of seminar recordings and reference materials on animal research topics that are relevant to researchers, staff, and institutions.