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Ethical Issues Related to Animal Welfare Considerations in the Toxicology Laboratory

Professional, Ethical and Legal Issues

  1. Robert F. Phalen PhD, FATS

Published Online: 15 DEC 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470744307.gat129

General, Applied and Systems Toxicology

General, Applied and Systems Toxicology

How to Cite

Phalen, R. F. 2009. Ethical Issues Related to Animal Welfare Considerations in the Toxicology Laboratory. General, Applied and Systems Toxicology. .

Author Information

  1. University of California, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Irvine, California, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2009


Toxicologists are required to maintain high ethical standards in their studies in order to comply with regulations and to meet the expectations of colleagues and the public. Ethical standards are continually evolving, due to regulatory actions, recommendations of professional organizations and public perceptions. Toxicologists, as do the large majority of all adults, subscribe to the principles of ‘animal welfare’ as opposed to the principles of ‘animal rights’ which opposes all human use of animals. Animal welfare in the toxicology laboratory is based on veterinary standards, accreditation standards, professional society standards, and on principles, such as the ‘3 Rs’: ‘Reduction’ (minimizing the number of animals used); ‘Refinement’ of procedures in order to minimize pain and distress; and ‘Replacement’ of animals by nonsentient models. Toxicologists strive to eliminate animal pain and distress, to use humane end points, to use humane methods for euthanasia and to provide for the health and safety of animal subjects. Toxicologists should also consider their responsibility to educate the public about what they do and why.

It is clear that the Animal Rights Movement, with the help of new and expanding, federal, state, and local laws, is rapidly making much animal research cost ineffective as well as extremely wasteful of the research scientist's time

(Guyton, 1988)


  • animal welfare;
  • animal toxicology;
  • ethics;
  • animal rights;
  • three Rs;
  • research regulations