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In the United States, there are increasing levels of protection for various animals, based roughly on how close they are to humans. See a general illustration (PDF - 148KB).

Laws governing the protection of human subjects encourage use of animal testing prior to human trials, to increase safety for human subjects. Thus animal testing cannot be restricted without decreasing the protections given human research subjects.

The greatest impact on animal subjects comes from the U.S. Principles, the Animal Welfare Act, and the PHS Policy, as interpreted by implementing regulations and the Guide published by the National Academies of Science. The Guide is the basis for inspection by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC), which remains the only private organization authorized to perform voluntary compliance inspections of animal research facilities.

Prior to the Animal Welfare Act policies protecting animal research subjects had been developed and published independently by scientists and others in the laboratory animal community. The documents listed below are those currently in effect.


Increasing levels of protection for animal research subjectsImage Modified

Increasing levels of protection for animal research subjects