Animals have contributed to nearly every medical breakthrough in recent history, including treatments for cancer, diabetes and AIDS, and they continue to play an essential role in the development of life-saving drugs for people and other animals. The welfare of the animals contributing to research is of utmost importance and a prerequisite for the accuracy, reliability and translatability of our research.

Why Work With Animals?

    Animals are essential to our understanding of disease progression and biological mechanisms as well as drug safety and efficacy. Before any drug or therapy is brought to market, there are regulations requiring testing in animal models to identify any health or safety risks as well as effectiveness. When animal models are required, the research is highly regulated to ensure responsible, ethical and humane treatment.

    Facts about animal research

    • Human and animal anatomy is comparable, with our organ systems performing in very similar ways.

    • Humans share approximately 99% of our DNA with mice, making them particularly effective models.

    • Approximately 95% of all animals involved in research are mice, rats and fish.

    • Veterinary research also benefits from animal research, providing medicines for companion and farm animals.

Educational Resources

    There are a number of independent nonprofit organizations and foundations dedicated to the development and support of best practices in animal research.

    They provide trusted educational resources and outreach programs not only to researchers and scientists but also to the general public. The public’s trust is built upon understanding our commitment to the humane care of the animals we work with in research. Educating the public regarding biomedical research and the critical role that it plays in human and animal health is essential to maintaining this trust.

    Animal Welfare Organizations »

Humane Care Overview

    The Humane Care Initiative is directed by our Animal Welfare and Training group, which consists of professionals committed to animal welfare with expertise in laboratory animal medicine and science, training and ethics. Charles River has a staff of over 150 veterinarians and over 1000 animal care professionals dedicated to the care and well-being of animals at its facilities globally.

    Our Humane Care Initiative includes establishing industry best practices and providing education and training to heighten awareness of the importance of humane care, fostering animal welfare worldwide.

    We comply with standards of practice and accepted guidance for the care and use of laboratory animals. Moreover, we participate in voluntary oversight programs, such as AAALAC, to assess our compliance through in-depth evaluations of our facilities and practices.

    Order a Humane Care Poster »

Replacement, Reduction and Refinement

    We are firmly committed to the 3Rs:

    • Innovation is a core focus, and we offer alternatives to animal testing when possible.

    • We emphasize animal health and genetic integrity, both of which decrease study data variability and reduce the number of animals needed for research.

    • We partner with clients to develop study designs that decrease the number of animals needed and suggest pilot studies where necessary.

    Learn More About the 3Rs »

Animal Welfare Awards and Scholarships

    We present awards to our employees (individually or in teams) and industry colleagues who show extraordinary attentiveness and sensitivity to animal welfare or who contribute to the refinement and enhancement of animal welfare.

    The Charles River CHARTER (Commitment to Humane Animal Research Through Excellence and Responsibility) Program is committed to funding organizations and projects that support the objectives of the Humane Care Initiative.

    The program includes awards and scholarships, lectures and support of national and international organizations.