important to keep in mind that the Guide is intended to provide information to assist researchers, institutional animal care and use committees (IACUCs), veterinarians, and other stakeholders in ensuring the implementation of effective and appropriate animal care and use programs that are based on humane care. Throughout the Guide, scientists and institutions are encouraged to give careful and deliberate thought to the decision to use animals, taking into consideration the contribution that such use will make to new knowledge, ethical concerns, and the availability of alternatives to animal use (NRC 1992). A practical strategy for decision making, the “Three Rs” (Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement) approach, is discussed in more detail below. Institutions should use the recommendations in the Guide as a foundation for the development of a comprehensive animal care and use program and a process for continually improving this program.


The Guide is intended for a wide and diverse audience, including

  • the scientific community

  • administrators

  • IACUCs

  • veterinarians

  • educators and trainers

  • producers of laboratory animals

  • accreditation bodies

  • regulators

  • the public.

The Guide is meant to be read by the user in its entirety, as there are many concepts throughout that may be helpful. Individual sections will be particularly relevant to certain users, and it is expected that the reader will explore in more detail the references provided (including those in Appendix A) on topics of interest.

Members of the scientific community (investigators and other animal users) will find Chapters 1 and 2 (and portions of Chapter 4) of the Guide useful for their interactions with the IACUC, attending veterinarian, and administrators regarding animal care as well as the preparation of animal care and use protocols. Scientific review committees and journal editors may choose to refer to multiple sections of the Guide to determine whether scientists contributing proposals and manuscripts have met the appropriate standards in their planned use of animals. The Guide can assist IACUCs and administrators in protocol review, assessment, and oversight of an animal care and use program. Veterinarians should find Chapters 3 through 5

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