Treatment of Animals

The use of animals in research and testing is strictly controlled, particularly regarding potential pain. Federal laws and regulations, including the Animal Welfare Act and the U.S. Public Health Service Policy regulate the alleviation and elimination of pain, as well as caging, feeding, exercise of dogs and the psychological well-being of nonhuman primates. 

Researchers share concerns about potentially painful procedures that may occur during the research process. UNMC abides by a basic principle: that no reason exists to believe that an animal’s perception of pain differs from that of people, unless proven otherwise. 

Previous surveys by the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed that the majority of experiments (62 percent) involve no pain for the animal. Additionally, in 32 percent, the animals feel no pain because they receive either anesthesia or pain-killing drugs. 

When seeking approval for a project, researchers must explain what pain is expected, what analgesics or anesthetics will be used, and whether the animal will be euthanized at the end of the procedure. Any pain considered consistent with the proposal’s goals must be strongly justified.