Use of random-source dogs and cats for research, testing, and education

The carefully controlled use of random-source dogs and cats can contribute to improving the health and welfare of both animals and human beings, and is consistent with the principles embodied in the 3Rs tenet of Russell and Burch.a The Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR) of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) issued a report on the Scientific and Humane Issues in the Use of Random Source Dogs and Cats in Research (2009) that makes recommendations on the use of random-source dogs and cats, as well as class B dealers. The AVMA believes there is justification for prudent and humane use of random-source dogs and cats in research, testing, and education, provided that:

  • The institution conducting such research, testing, or education has met all legal requirements and guidelines pertaining to the acquisition, care, and use of dogs and cats for these purposes;
  • The need for such dogs and cats, which species and type are most appropriate, and the number required to meet the needs of the protocol have been carefully determined;
  • Adequate safeguards are used to ensure that only appropriately screened dogs and cats are obtained legally; and preventive measures are taken to optimize the health and welfare of dogs and cats used in research, testing, and education.
  • Class Bb dealers are used to obtain random-source dogs and cats only when alternatives do not exist; and
  • Alternative sourcesc are explored and supported that will ultimately eliminate the need for Class B dealers as a source for random-source dogs and cats used in research, testing, and education.

a Reduction, refinement, replacement

b Class B dealers acquire dogs from random sources, such as individual owners, small hobby breeders, and animal pounds and shelters. Often these are mature, large, socialized dogs of mixed breeds.

c Legal alternatives for dogs and cats from Class B dealers include Class A dealers, privately owned colonies (often established by donations from breeders or owners because of genetic defects), client-owned animals (e.g., animals participating in carefully controlled and monitored veterinary clinical trials), donor programs, and non-animal models. Donor programs encourage the voluntary provision of tissue samples obtained during the course of an animal’s diagnosis and treatment in veterinary hospitals or the bodies of animals euthanized for other reasons (including veterinary client and shelter/animal control donations).