Category Archive: FAQ

Is it ethical for humans to experiment on animals?

January 2, 2015

The wide range of students, faculty and scientists at UW-Madison who use animals in research believe that the use of animals in medical research is ethical when performed under strict regulation, in situations where practical alternatives do not exist. The ethical decision amounts to a trade-off between the harm that may be done to the animals and the benefits to … Read More

Who uses animals in research on campus?

January 2, 2015

A wide variety of UW–Madison researchers, including veterinarians, medical doctors, scientists and students at all levels of the university, are involved in animal research. Everybody involved in animal research must be trained in animal regulations and care, and have the necessary skills and training. Also, the research must be carried out in licensed premises meeting strict standards and subject to … Read More

How is an animal research proposal approved?

January 2, 2015

Animal research is described and governed by a “protocol,” a description of the project that constitutes a contract between the principal investigator and the UW-Madison Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC). The review and approval for an animal care and use protocol follows these steps: Protocol application is prepared by the investigator and submitted to the Research Animal Resource Center (RARC), … Read More

Who regulates animal research on campus?

January 2, 2015

Both federal and university bodies regulate research using vertebrate animals: U.S. Department of Agriculture. Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, National Institutes of Health. Food and Drug Administration. Animal research at UW-Madison is overseen by six Animal Care and Use Committees, with assistance from the Research Animal Resource Center. Read More

Can you reduce your use of animals by doing something else?

January 2, 2015

Yes, and we are. For example, two types of stem cells (embryonic and induced pluripotent) are producing human cells that are already being used to test candidate drugs for toxicity. These stem cells are routinely used to produce human heart muscle cells, and because heart toxicity can be lethal, this process will save the lives of both animals and people. Read More

Do your researchers look at alternatives to using live animals?

January 2, 2015

Yes. Following the federal Animal Welfare Act, the UW–Madison Researcher’s Guide to Animal Care and Use specifies that investigators consider alternatives to animal use, as part of its commitment to humane research: Replacement; using non-animal alternatives, such as cell culture, or choosing a species lower on the phylogenetic tree (mice instead of monkeys) Reduction; using the smallest number … Read More

Why can’t you replace animals with a computer?

January 2, 2015

Humans, like all animals, are extremely complicated. Drug development, for example, shows the difficulty of finding an accurate alternative. Many drugs are discovered because a chemical compound does something useful in a laboratory dish, but that discovery is followed by a long process of trial and error: first with simple animals, then with more advanced ones. Even the drugs that … Read More

Why use animals in research?

December 30, 2014

Animal research is essential for three basic purposes: To explore basic biology To develop treatments for diseases and disabilities To promote health and safety for animals, people and the environment … Read More