Animal Resource Center

Ensuring Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals

The Animal Resource Center is dedicated to providing the highest level of care possible to animals used in biomedical research and teaching.

Specifically, we:

  • Recognize the contribution animals make to expanding our knowledge and improving the human condition
  • Promote an environment of respect and support for animals, researchers and staff
  • Facilitate essential animal research with an emphasis on ethics

The Animal Resource Center is registered with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The animal facilities are inspected by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and have been found to be in compliance with the Animal Welfare Act and USDA regulations.

We are proud to report that we are an Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) accredited facility. AAALAC International is a nonprofit organization that promotes the humane treatment of laboratory animals.

Sanford also maintains an Animal Welfare Assurance with the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), a National Institutes of Health (NIH) agency. This assurance describes the commitment of Sanford Health to comply with the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and with the NIH Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.


Proof of Concept Center (PoCC) / Surgical Resource Center (SRC)

The PoCC/SRC can assist with developing a wide range of medical technologies, from surgical gloves, syringes, and thermometers to sophisticated prosthetics, imaging equipment, artificial heart valves, and electronic neurostimulators. Device developers must seek either premarket clearance (which is most common and generally does not require clinical data) or premarket approval (which is required for only a small number of devices—often implanted devices—and which does require clinical data) from the FDA. At Sanford, we are committed to assisting clients through the initial development process as individuals or with strategic partners. The Sanford Research PoCC/SRC focuses on providing medical doctors, medical trainees, and researchers the services, tools, and resources needed to enable individuals to bridge the gap between discovery, knowledge transfer, and technology development.

Learn more about more about one of our equipment partners:


Laboratory Services


  • Assistance with experimental planning
  • Breeding Colony Management to include:
    • Setting up breeding pairs
    • Taking tissue samples for genotyping
    • DNA extraction utilizing the Maxwell 16
    • Identification – tattooing, tagging, ear notching, toe clipping
    • Weaning
    • Maintaining breeding records using Filemaker Pro Mouse Colony Manager
  • Custom surgery/surgical assistance
  • Tissue collection
  • Perfusion



FAQ — Animal Care and Use Regulations

What are the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee’s (IACUC) regulations, policies and guidelines in the oversight of the animal care and use program?

What are some other opinions on animal care and use?

How do I report an animal use concern?

Anyone concerned with an animal’s welfare or is aware of non-compliance with policies, rules, regulations, and laws regarding animal care and use for research, teaching, or testing may contact a member of the ARC, IACUC, the Attending Veterinarian, or IACUC specialist.

Complainants will remain anonymous. It is the goal of Sanford Research to ensure all animals are treated humanely and in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act.

Each IACUC member, alternate, and staff member is responsible for referring any concerns received to the IACUC chair. If the concern is made in writing or via email, it will be forwarded to the chair with a note indicating the date and time of receipt of the concern. All allegations of animal mistreatment or non-compliance are taken seriously and investigated, even if the complainant chooses to remain anonymous.

What does “use of animals” mean?

If your project involves materially altering the natural life style or movement of vertebrate animals, then it qualifies as "use of animals." If your laboratory or classroom uses animal carcasses, tissues and fluids that were specifically obtained for research, testing or teaching, then your project is subject to review according to relevant regulations and could be designated as "use of animals." Contact the IACUC office if you are unsure if your project falls under this characterization.

How often is the Animal Resource Center inspected?

It depends on the inspection organization. The IACUC inspects our facilities semiannually. The USDA inspects annually at minimum and its inspections are unannounced. Once every three years, Sanford submits documents for an AAALAC accreditation review and site visit.

What is a literature search for alternatives?

Principal investigators are required by the US Animal Welfare Act (AWA) regulations to consider alternatives to procedures that may cause more than momentary or slight pain to animals. They must also provide a written account of the methods used and sources consulted to determine the availability of alternatives. This includes refinements, reductions and replacements.

These three R’s are:

  • Refinement of techniques and procedures to reduce pain or discomfort
  • Reduction in the number of animals affected
  • Replacement of animals with non-animal techniques or the use of less sentient species

You can read more about the search for alternatives in the book The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique (1959) by Russell and Burch.

What are some examples of the three R’s?

Refinement: Using analgesics and analgesia, using remote telemetry to includes the quality and quantity of data gathered, and using humane endpoints for the animals.

Reduction: Using shared control groups, preliminary screening in non-animal systems, innovative statistical packages, or a consultation with a statistician.

Replacement: Taking advantage of alternatives such as in vitro, cell culture, tissue culture, models, simulations, etc. You could also look for non-mammalian animal models such as fish or invertebrates.

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