Animal research policy

Michigan State University approaches animal care with the utmost seriousness. The safety, welfare and comfort of our animals—research and agricultural—is integral to our land-grant tradition and our research and testing missions. Simply put, MSU believes animals should be used for research and teaching only when necessary and always with humane treatment, the best possible care and thorough oversight.

MSU has rigorous processes and safeguards to ensure employees live up to its high expectations, comply with all regulations and standards, and take swift action in the rare instance in which problems do arise to ensure similar situations do not occur again. The use of animals in research and teaching is managed by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee in compliance with U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations and the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

MSU’s investigators do not use animals for research unnecessarily. They must first search for alternatives, justify the use and seek approval for each and every research project involving animals. Careful consideration is given to the 3 Rs—reduction, replacement, and refinement by each investigator. Animal research plays a unique role in generating new knowledge about the biology and behavior of living things and ensuring the safety and efficacy of drugs and procedures to benefit both humans and animals. The development of vaccines for devastating diseases, improved treatments for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and arthritis; and diagnostic tests for myriad animal and human diseases are all examples of important developments that were dependent on animal research.

MSU acknowledges the use of animals in research is a topic about which there are strong views. It remains committed to the highest standard of treatment and care while respecting the views of others and being responsive and responsible in dealing with this highly charged subject.

More information on regulations and guidelines can be found at