AACN Policy for the Use of Animals in Research

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The purpose of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is to promote the health and welfare of mankind by advancing the science and art of critical care nursing. One goal of AACN is to encourage scientific investigation in critical care. Knowledge development necessary to achieve this goal is partially dependent upon a number of scientific investigation modes, including the study of animal models. AACN acknowledges that:

  • Research is essential for developing knowledge to benefit critically ill patients
  • Animal studies have provided the scientific knowledge to improve the quality of life
  • Animals are physiologically complex resources that cannot be replaced by nonanimal models
  • Continued progress in science of critical care nursing depends on maintaining access to all available sources of knowledge, including animal research.


AACN supports the use of nonbiological systems, such as computer simulation, mathematical models and biological models, such as cell and tissue cultures whenever they will produce scientifically reliable data. When necessary, AACN supports the appropriate use of animals for scientific investigation and education.

Individuals and institutions funded by AACN grants must comply with the revised Federal Animal Welfare Act, the standards set by the Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources, and the DHEW Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals when using the animal model in research. These documents serve as the primary criteria of the humane and ethical care and use of animals for testing, research and education.


  1. Animal Welfare Act of 1966 (Public Law 89-544), as amended in 1970 (Public Law 91-579), and in 1976 (Public Law 94-279), and 1985 (Public Law 99-198). Available from the Deputy Administrator, U.S. Department of Agriculture, APHISVS, Federal Bldg., 6505 Belcrest Road, Hyattsville, MD 20782.
  2. Laboratory Animal Welfare. NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts (1985), 14 (8), Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.
  3. NIH Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. a) DHEW Publication No. (NIH) 78-23, Revised 1978 and b) NIH Publication No. 85-23, Revised 1985: U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

Revised: 09/02/2004