Issue Brief Draft
1 of 2
Issue 1: It is estimated that about 115-127 million animals are used in research each year.
• Animal research has had a vital role in many scientific and medical advances of the past century and continues to aid our understanding of various diseases.
Throughout the world, people enjoy a better quality of life because of these advances, and the subsequent development of new medicines and treatments—all made possible by animal research 
• Testing on animals has a long medical history, in 1859 Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory reinforced the conception that animals could serve as models for humans in the study of biology and physiology. Animal testing peaked in the early 1970s, and has been in decline since, due to both increased public pressure to reduce the numbers of animals tested and the development of available alternatives.
• The Animal Welfare Act was signed into law in 1966. It is the only Federal law in the
United States that regulates the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport, and by dealers. Other laws, policies, and guidelines may include additional species coverage or specifications for animal care and use, but all refer to the
Animal Welfare Act as the minimum acceptable standard. The Act is enforced by the
• The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) outlines the minimal standards of care for certain animals used in research, bred for commercial sale, transported, and/or exhibited to the public. The Animal Welfare Regulations offer more specific requirements determined by the species of animal involved, and include details on items such as housing, proper handling, sanitation, nutrition, temperature, transport, and veterinary care. In addition, the regulations specify the licensing and reporting requirements for USDA-licensed facilities and outline the functions of the
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUCs).
• Laboratory testing on chimpanzees