Animals at WSU

Washington State University (WSU) strives to make discoveries that save and improve the lives of animals and humans alike, as well as safeguard the environment. The research vital to these discoveries sometimes involves animals.

Any animal-based research comes with a large responsibility to provide animals with the highest level of ethical and humane care. WSU takes that responsibility very seriously and is committed to openly sharing information about its research involving animals and standards of animal care.

Why animals at WSU?


Animal research yields breakthroughs that benefit us all. Discoveries such as life-saving treatment for diabetes, life support for premature babies, vaccines to prevent deadly and crippling diseases, and much more would not have been possible without animal research

WSU research findings contribute to a better understanding of health problems in animals and humans. They have profoundly improved the quality and effectiveness of veterinary care to help our animal friends live longer, healthier lives.


Animals can be critical for teaching critical skills to students. Educators at WSU also involve animals in lessons about animal care and in programs that foster compassion.

For example, undergraduates in animal sciences learn hands-on with a student-managed herd of dairy cows. Veterinary students at WSU’s veterinary medicine program also utilize animals to learn life-saving skills that benefit our pets.

WSU Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)

The IACUC ensures that all vertebrate animals involved in teaching or research under the direction of Washington State University receive ethical and humane care and treatment.

College of Veterinary Medicine

Advancing knowledge for animal care and educating future veterinarians

Oversight and compliance

All WSU research involving animals adheres to the stringent requirements of federal law.

The WSU’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) carefully reviews all animal research proposals before the studies begin to evaluate animal welfare and compliance with federal regulations and university policies. It has the authority to approve new animal research projects as well as stop a research project if the care or involvement of animals fails to comply with the approved protocol, regulations or IACUC policies. Additional information about IACUC can be viewed on the IACUC website.

WSU animal care programs have earned accreditation from AAALAC International, a private, nonprofit organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals in science. AAALAC recognizes WSU among organizations worldwide that uphold global standards of exceptional animal care and ethics.

Reducing animals in research and teaching

When WSU considers proposals for involving animals in research and teaching, it follows principles that the scientific community worldwide knows as the “3 Rs”:

  • Replace animals with other options
  • Reduce the number of animals involved
  • Refine tests to minimize any distress

WSU only involves animals in research when no other method of study would yield the scientific knowledge needed to address serious health and environmental problems. Whenever possible, WSU research employs alternatives to animals, such as cell cultures, tissue studies, and computer models.

In the future, biological discoveries and technological advances may ultimately eliminate the need for animal research. WSU looks forward to that time.

Animal Welfare Concern

If you suspect research/teaching animal misuse or noncompliance with federal regulations/campus policies, please report to:

• The IACUC at,

• Alan Ekstrand at (509) 335-7951,,  

• OR Compliance Hotline at (509) 335-1289,,

• Additional reporting options, forms and can be found at


College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Bringing new insights to agricultural sciences and to the well-being of humans, animals, and the environment


Find out more about animals at WSU

Explore answers to frequently asked questions.