IACUC Office homefiller

The role of animals in research

The University of Minnesota is resolute in its support of the right of investigators to use laboratory animals in their research. Such research in University laboratories has led to the development of procedures and medicines that have improved and saved the lives of people and animals all over the world, including treatments for heart disease, cancer, mental illness, and a wide range of animal ailments.

Before any discovery can be tested in humans, there is a critical stage involving animals to determine if the new treatment is safe and effective. Biomedical research, for example, follows a rigorous path of science and discovery leading to highly regulated testing that proves or disproves the value of a new idea that may lead to new treatments and cures. One portion of that research involves animals.

It is only through research with animals that we were first able to create a smallpox vaccine. It is only through research with animals that we have been able to understand as much as we do about the anthrax bacteria. And it will only be through well-focused biomedical research that we will be able to ensure that future drugs and medical devices can truly save lives -- both animal and human.

No animal is involved in research unless first approved by the University's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), which follows the regulations and guidelines of the Public Health Service Policy on the Humane Care and Use of Animals, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal Welfare Act Regulations, and the National Academy of Science's Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

The university's Academic Health Center, College of Liberal Arts and Hormel Institute are accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International.

More information

A number of organizations offer useful information on the use of animals in research and education:

Foundation for Biomedical Research
Nation's oldest and largest organization dedicated to improving human and veterinary health by promoting public understanding and support for humane and responsible animal research.

National Association for Biomedical Research
Provides the unified voice for the scientific community on legislative and regulatory matters affecting laboratory animal research.

Americans for Medical Progress
Protects society’s investment in research by nurturing public understanding of and support for the humane, necessary, and valuable use of animals in medicine.

Kids 4 Research
Provides information to students, teachers, and parents on responsible laboratory animal care and use in biomedical research, testing, and education.


Visit IACUC's website to find the right contact or email iacuc@umn.edu.

Animal discoveries

Click the links below to read about animal research discoveries at the University of Minnesota.

Rat regret informs decision research Rat regret

New weapon against killer of baby pigs Pigs

Where the organic cows roam Organic cows

Fat-burning squirrels Ground squirrel

Dogs teach medical science new tricks Puppy