Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in the Care and Use of Nonhuman Animals in Research


As a field of study, psychology examines a broad range of research and applied areas. Important parts of such work are teaching and research on the behavior of nonhuman animals, which contribute to the understanding of basic principles underlying behavior and to advancing the welfare of both human and nonhuman animals. While psychologists must conduct their teaching and research in a manner consonant with relevant laws and regulations, ethical concerns further mandate that psychologists consider the costs and benefits of procedures involving animals before proceeding with these activities.

The following guidelines were developed by the American Psychological Association (APA) for use by psychologists working with nonhuman animals. They are informed by Section 8.09 of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (APA, 2010). The acquisition, care, housing, use, and disposition of nonhuman animals in research must be in compliance with applicable federal, state, and local, laws and regulations, institutional policies, and with international conventions to which the United States is a party. APA members working outside the United States must also follow all applicable laws and regulations of the country in which they conduct research.

Questions about these guidelines should be referred to the APA Committee on Animal Research and Ethics (CARE) via email, by phone at (202) 336-6000, or in writing to the APA Science Directorate, Office of Research Ethics, 750 First St., NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242.

Violations of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct by an APA member should be reported to the APA Ethics Committee by phone at 202-336-5930, or in writing to the APA Ethics Office, 750 First St., NE, Washington, DC  20002-424.

These guidelines are scheduled to expire 10 years from February 24, 2012 (the date of adoption by the APA Council of Representatives). After this date users are encouraged to contact the APA Science Directorate to determine if this document remains in effect.