USDA Classification Information

USDA Classifications and Examples

Classification B: Animals being bred, conditioned, or held for use in teaching, testing, experiments, research, or surgery, but not yet used for such purposes.

  • Breeding colonies of any animal species (USDA does not require listing of rats, mice, birds) that are held in legal sized caging and handled in accordance with the Guide and other applicable regulations.  Breeding colony includes parents and offspring.
  • Newly acquired animals that are held in proper caging and handled in accordance with applicable regulations.
  • Animals held under proper captive conditions or wild animals that are being observed.

Classification C: Animals upon which teaching, research, experiments, or tests will be conducted involving no pain, distress, or use of pain-relieving drugs.

  • Procedures performed correctly by trained personnel such as the administration of electrolytes/fluids, administration of oral medication, blood collection from a common peripheral vein per standard veterinary practice (dog cephalic, cat jugular) or catheterization of same, standard radiography, parenteral injections of non-irritating substances.
  • Euthanasia performed in accordance with the recommendations of the most recent AVMA Panel on Euthanasia, utilizing procedures that produce rapid unconsciousness and subsequent humane death.
  • Manual restraint that is no longer than would be required for a simple exam; holding or weighing animals.
  • Observation of animal behavior or live trapping with minimal potential for injury.
  • Studies involving clinical signs not judged to involve more than slight pain or distress.

Classification D: Animals upon which experiments, teaching, research, surgery, or tests will be conducted involving accompanying pain or distress to the animals and for which appropriate anesthetic, analgesic, or tranquilizing drugs will be used.

  • Surgical procedures conducted by trained personnel in accordance with standard veterinary practice such as biopsies, gonadectomy, thoracotomy, laparotomy, craniotomy, thyroidectomy, joint replacement, amputation, exposure of blood vessels, or chronic catheter implantation.
  • Blood collection by more invasive routes such as intracardiac or periorbital collection from species without a true orbital sinus such as rats and guinea pigs.
  • Administration of drugs, chemicals, toxins, or organisms that would be expected to produce pain or distress but which will be alleviated by analgesics.

Classification E: Animals upon which teaching, experiments, research, surgery, or tests will be conducted involving accompanying pain or distress to the animals and for which the use of appropriate anesthetic, analgesic, or tranquilizing drugs will adversely affect the procedures, results, or interpretation of the teaching, research, experiments, surgery, or tests.

  • Procedures producing pain or distress unrelieved by analgesics such as toxicity studies, microbial virulence testing, radiation sickness, and research on stress, shock, or pain.
  • Surgical and postsurgical sequella from invasion of body cavities, orthopedic procedures, dentistry or other hard or soft tissue damage that produces unrelieved pain or distress.
  • Negative conditioning via electric shocks that would cause pain in humans.
  • Chairing of nonhuman primates not conditioned to the procedure for the time period used.