Understanding Animal Research

We believe in the importance of conducting responsible and ethical research involving animals. Our goal is to advance science, medicine, and human understanding while promoting animal welfare and seeking to reduce pain and distress whenever possible throughout the process.

Advancing Medicine and Science

Animal research plays a pivotal role in numerous scientific breakthroughs, such as the development of new drugs. Animals and humans suffer many similar ailments, and this research uncovers essential information about diseases and biological processes — even across generations.

Research involving animals is vital for medical advancements as animals share similar physiology and anatomy with humans, making it a crucial step towards accelerating discoveries that benefit us all. In fact, federal drug regulations require animal testing before allowing any medical treatments to be used on humans.

About Animal Research

Quick Facts

  • Animal Variety: Approximately 95-98% of animals used in research in the U.S. are rodents, with dogs, cats, and nonhuman primates accounting for less than 1%. Other species, including eels, armadillos, fish, frogs, and insects, can also be used.
  • Ethical Obligation: At Utah State, we consider good animal care to be good science. Researchers are legally and morally obligated to adhere to all applicable federal, state, and university regulations, policies, and guidelines for the humane use of animals in research.
  • Similarity to Humans: Animals share significant genetic similarities with humans. For instance, mice share 98% of their DNA with humans. This similarity has been essential in the advancement of medical science and disease treatment.

By the Numbers

  • Thanks to researchers’ commitment to proper animal care and ethical research, the amount of research on large animals continually decreases. Research using large animals is being conducted at less than half the rate that it is was in mid-1990s.
  • Approximately 12-27 million animals are used in research nationwide, with more than 90% being rats, mice, birds, or fish.
  • Comparatively, the number of animals used in research is significantly smaller than the number of animals consumed for food and killed on roads.