Animals Used for Research, Testing, and Education

Central California SPCA position on animals used for biomedical research, testing, and education.

The following Central California SPCA Position Statements represent the views, opinions, and policies of the Society on various practices that involve the use of animals.

These Position Statements aim to provide clarity regarding the stance of our Society on such issues.

  • We support legislation and regulatory action to promote alternatives to animal research and to facilitate and encourage the sharing of data and alternative methods in all forms of animal research.
  • We advocate and encourage the eventual end to the use of animals in research and testing that cause harm to animals, realizing that some research (e.g. drug safety testing for human use) may not be possible without the use of animals.
  • We are opposed to the use of animals in household and cosmetic product testing.
  • We do not provide live or dead animals to any laboratory, firm, association, corporation, co-partnership, or educational institution for the purposes of experimenting, dissecting, or research.

Many of the cats, dogs, and other animals making their way to our Animal Center were once beloved pets and their transfer to animal dealers and laboratories represents a violation of trust and compounds the stress to the animals involved.

Typically, animals obtained from pounds and shelters are desirable to corporations and institutions because they can be acquired cheaply or for free, yet they may harbor unknown health problems that can negate results of experiments or infect other animals on site.

The use of these animals, however, can be replaced with humane alternatives, such as the use of client-donated pet cadavers. In addition, shelter medicine programs have been developed that provide a service to local shelters while allowing students to learn important skills. Use of these alternatives does not shake the trust that people expect to have in animal shelters but rather allows people to feel comfortable that, if they do have to bring a pet to a shelter, their pet will not end up in a laboratory and used in experiments.

  • We believe students of all ages should be provided an education that instills a respect for animals and emphasizes the value of animals as living, sentient creatures who share our world. Educating school children about the wonders of biology is one way to instill an appreciation on the intrinsic value of animals.

Where appropriate, alternatives to the use of animals in the classroom, such as computer modeling, should be considered at the undergraduate level and beyond. While there are some alternatives to achieve educational objectives, we believe that there is a place for ethically sourced cadavers.