Statement by Yale University on the Humane Use of Animals in Research and Education

Yale believes the humane use of animals in research is more than justified by the benefits it yields to humankind. Virtually all medical advances of the last century would have been impossible without animal research. From antibiotics and blood transfusions to dialysis and organ transplantations, nearly every modern treatment to cure disease and control pain is based on knowledge gained through animal research.

Today researchers at Yale are working on new therapies and diagnostic tools for a broad range of terminal diseases including Parkinson’s, lung cancer, HIV/AIDS, cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer’s and Muscular Dystrophy – all of which rely on animal models. Our faculty members employ animals only when there are no alternative models for advancing their research.

Yale takes seriously its responsibility for the humane care of animals; our laboratories comply with or exceed all federal regulations and independent accreditation standards. As we continue to advance modern medicine, and provide hope for millions of patients and their families, Yale scientists will sustain their commitment to the humane use of animals in research.


  • Biomedical researchers, who dedicate their lives to preserving and improving human health, respect all life.
  • Animal research at Yale is conducted humanely – and only when there are no other research options.
  • Virtually all medical advances of the last century—organ transplantation, drug development and vaccines—would have been impossible without animal research.
  • Animal research has resulted in many life-saving and life-extending vaccines and treatments for cats, dogs, farm animals, and endangered species as well as humans.
  • Some achievements of animal research:
    • Advances in HIV/AIDS treatment
    • Treatment for diseases and conditions such as: diabetes, spinal cord injury and Parkinson’s disease.
    • Increase in cure rates for pediatric cancers.
    • Over 553,000 men and women survive coronary bypass surgery each year
    • The 420,000 patients who receive hip and knee replacements each year no longer face confinement in wheelchairs or great difficulty and pain when walking
  • Yale’s animal program has voluntarily sought and obtained accreditation by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC). The program also maintains a current Assurance with the NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), and a Registration with the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
  • Yale’s program is internally overseen by the University’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and conducts a rigorous self-assessment of the entire program twice a year. The program is externally overseen by unannounced annual inspections by the USDA and by announced triennial site visits by AAALAC.
  • Yale purchases animals only from licensed and/or accredited commercial vendors and dealers who are licensed to sell animals that have been specifically bred for research.
  • Humane treatment of research animals is required by law and is necessary to obtain valid research findings.
  • Often, the need for animals in biomedical research is misunderstood by non-scientific individuals, who in fact, purchase and benefit from products on a daily basis without realizing that they were developed, in part, from data collected in animal research. 
  • Approximately 95 percent of all animals needed for research conducted in the U.S. are rats and mice; the percent is even higher at Yale, where less than one percent of research animals are non-rodent species.
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