Safety testing

The AVMA supports research to discover and develop safe and efficacious drugs, vaccines, biologicals, medical devices, and other products that benefit animals and humans. Protecting and advancing the health and welfare of humans, animals, and the environment is also an essential function of governmental and regulatory organizations globally, which do so by ensuring the efficacy and safety of drugs, vaccines, biologicals, medical devices, and other products.

In addition, the AVMA strongly supports the application of the 3Rs, as defined by Russell and Burch, to safety testing by replacing animals with non-animal methods when scientifically appropriate, reducing the number of animals used, and refining testing methods to reduce or avoid pain and distress. As such, the AVMA supports continuing efforts to develop, validate, and approve alternative safety testing methods that further refine, reduce, and/or replace animal use.

When animal studies are deemed necessary to determine the safety of new products, such studies must encompass scientifically valid principles and procedures and ensure good animal welfare. Substances to be tested should be verified as pure and uncontaminated whenever appropriate.

When animals are used in safety testing, everyone involved must be committed to acting ethically and adhering to sound animal welfare principles. These include compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local regulations; proper provision of veterinary care; and oversight of animal welfare by an appropriate body such as an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, to ensure adherence to animal use protocols and approved humane endpoint criteria.


National Research Council. Guide for the care and use of laboratory animals. 8th ed. Washington, District of Columbia: National Academy Press. 2011. Available at: Accessed Jan 3, 2018.

Federation of Animal Science Societies. Guide for the care and use of agricultural animals in research and teaching. 4th ed. Available at: Accessed Jan 3, 2018.

Russell WMS, Burch RL. The principles of humane experimental technique. Methuen, London. 1959. Available at: Accessed Jan 3, 2018.