Animal Studies

Policies and Guidance

Harvard's animal care and use programs are based on the three “R”s as described by Russell and Burch in The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique. These principles advocate the need to reduce the number of animals used, refine experiments to minimize distress, or replace animals with non-animal models (e.g., in vitro experiments or computer simulations) whenever possible.

Harvard’s programs are overseen by two Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC), as federally mandated by our OLAW Assurances: The Harvard Medical Area Standing Committee on Animals (HMA IACUC; Assurance #A3431-01) oversees the animal care and use program at the Medical School (HMS, including the New England Primate Research Center [NEPRC]), Dental School (HSDM), School of Public Health (HSPH), Brigham & Women's Hospital (BWH) and any labs that use animals at the Harvard Institutes of Medicine (HIM) and New Research Building (NRB). The FAS Standing Committee on the Use of Animals in Research and Teaching (FAS IACUC; Assurance # A3593-01) oversees the animal use program in the University Area, following the FAS guidelines on the use of non-human vertebrate animals in research and teaching. All uses of vertebrate animals must be approved by the appropriate IACUC before animals are ordered or work is started. The IACUCs also are responsible for inspection of all animal use sites at least once every six months, including all animal facilities, satellite housing and animal use areas in labs.

Harvard's animal care and use programs maintain AAALAC-International accreditation.

Non-compliance with an animal use protocol or IACUC or animal facility policies or procedures should be reported immediately to minimize harm to animals and/or personnel. Immediate reporting allows the veterinary staff and/or IACUC to address the problem and reduces the chance of it continuing. Any allegation of non-compliance, whether a failure to follow procedures or animal neglect or abuse, can be confidentially reported by anyone to either the IACUC or the animal facility. Please see Report Non-Compliance for more information.