Standard Article

Animal Welfare in the Toxicology Laboratory


  1. Roy C. Myers BS, DABT (1986–2006)1,
  2. Bennett J. Varsho MPH, DABT2

Published Online: 15 DEC 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470744307.gat050

General, Applied and Systems Toxicology

General, Applied and Systems Toxicology

How to Cite

Myers, R. C. and Varsho, B. J. 2009. Animal Welfare in the Toxicology Laboratory. General, Applied and Systems Toxicology. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Greensburg, Pennsylvania, USA

  2. 2

    WIL Research Laboratories, LLC, Operations Manager, Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology and Formulations, Ashland, Ohio, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2009


Because of ethical, scientific, social and legal considerations, toxicological research with animals must be conducted humanely and with careful attention to proper animal care. Animal welfare legislation specifies facility construction, primary enclosure space, feed, water, temperature, lighting, humidity, sanitation and staff requirements for maintaining animal health. For technical personnel, experience and training should be confirmed by the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (or equivalent) certification. The animal research facility itself should be certified in the appropriate care and use of animals by an agency such as the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International. Humane research in animals should be guided by the ‘three Rs’: reduction of numbers of test animals, refinement towards less pain or distress and replacement with alternatives to whole-animal models. Increasingly, alternative models are being validated and incorporated into protocols and regulatory guidelines. Everyone involved in animal research must be cognizant of, and committed to, standards for humane animal research. To this end, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee oversees test justification, adequacy of facility and staff, prevention of pain or suffering and concerns about animal treatment. Conflicts must be resolved through a balance between study goals and animal welfare.


  • animal alternatives;
  • animal research;
  • animal care;
  • animal testing;
  • animal care and use committee;
  • animal toxicology;
  • animal laboratory;
  • animal use;
  • animal legislation;
  • animal welfare