The following rules were developed to help pre-college student researchers adhere to the federal regulations governing professional scientists and to protect the welfare of both animal subjects and the student researcher. Health and well-being is of high priority when students conduct research with animal subjects.

Science Outside the White House strongly endorses the use of non-animal research methods and encourages students to use alternatives to animal research. If the use of vertebrate animals is necessary, students must consider additional alternatives to reduce and refine the use of animals.


Rules for Vertebrate Animal Studies

Science Outside the White House only permits observational studies of vertebrate animals that adhere to BOTH of the following guidelines:

a. The research involves only agricultural, behavioral, observational or supplemental nutritional studies on animals.


b. The research involves only non-invasive and non- intrusive methods that do not negatively affect an animal’s health or well-being.


Vertebrate animal studies may be conducted at a home, school, farm, ranch, in the field, etc. This includes:

a. Studies of animals in their natural environment.
b. Studies of animals in zoological parks.
c. Studies of livestock that use standard agricultural practices.
d. Studies of fish that use standard aquaculture practices.

Animals must be treated kindly and cared for properly. Animals must be housed in a clean, ventilated, comfortable environment appropriate for the species. They must be given a continuous, clean (uncontaminated) water and food supply. Cages, pens and fish tanks must be cleaned frequently. Proper care must be provided at all times, including weekends, holidays, and vacation periods. Animals must be observed daily to assess their health and well-being. A Designated Supervisor is required to oversee the daily husbandry of the animals. Any of the following U.S. documents provide further guidance for animal husbandry:

  • Federal Animal Welfare Regulation

  • Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals

  • Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Agricultural Research and Teaching (Ag-Guide)

  • Quality Assurance Manuals (for the appropriate species)

*Adapted from the International Science and Engineering Fair Ethical Guidelines