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What is animal research openness?

Animal research openness is ensuring that members of the public have access to information about why, when and how animals are involved in research, teaching or testing.


Efforts may include statements, case studies, images, videos or other information easily accessed from institutional websites. Other examples may be including the role of animals in press releases about research advancements, ensuring media inquiries are addressed, placing articles or other pieces in local or national news outlets. Still other ways to achieve animal research openness may be by engaging in community events, providing seminars or other learning opportunities for members of the public and visiting local schools. All efforts must be honest, clear, and accessible by the audience in which it is intended.

Are you a member of the public? What does animal research openness mean to you? Let us know by emailing us at

What is the purpose of the U.S. Animal Research Openness Initiative?

The USARO Initiative aims to increase the availability of information about animal research that clearly explains why animals are necessary for the advancement of medicine and science, when exactly animal studies are required and how animal welfare is assured.

Why is the USARO Initiative important?

As a society, we have agreed that scientific and medical advancements should occur. It is important that everyone, including those not directly involved in the research process, clearly understand what is involved in continuing these advancements. This will help ensure that decisions regarding legislation and funding that affect this research are informed and based on accurate, current information.

Does participation in the USARO Initiative mean we have to change the way we conduct our research program?

No, participation in the USARO Initiative does not change the way you conduct your research program. Joining the USARO Initiative allows you to provide your institution's perspective to help inform the development of a country-wide animal research openness agreement.  The final agreement will be created in a way that best supports the research community as we unite to ensure greater openness about animal research for the general public in the United States. If your institution has found a particularly successful public education approach, we invite you to become an exemplar to share your example with others.

Our institutional already has several animal research openness efforts, do we need to participate?

We are grateful that many organization in the United States are already conducting activities that help to inform the public about why, when and how animal research occurs. If your institution is one of these institutions, we invite you to become an exemplar to share your example with others. the USARO Initiative encourages all organizations to join regardless of your current level of openness about animal research.

Will participation in the USARO Initiative attract negative attention to my institution's program?

While every institution's experience will be different, it is encouraging to note that institutions in other nations with similar agreements have seen that the general perception of their animal research program has become more favorable overall. In addition, there are organizations in the United States that are already conducting many openness efforts successfully. These include new efforts and those that have been in place for a long time. These successes provide insights on the potential benefits to an increased number of institutions also conducting animal reserach openness efforts.


We recognize that there are competing views in every industry. However unfair, the lack of information is most often viewed as intentional secrecy. Taking steps to improve openness about your animal care and use program shows your commitment to help with public understanding of your work. This is key to combating the fear and misunderstanding that give rise to opposition to animal research and anti-research campaigns.

How can I enlist the senior leadership at my institution?

Start the conversation. In most cases, increasing animal research openness begins with one person, one conversation at a time. One of the major goals of the USARO Initiative is to provide resources and support for institutions wishing to begin or expand effective public education, outreach and communication programs.

What is the difference between the Statement of Intent and the U.S. Animal Research Openness Agreement?

The Statement of Intent is just that - a declaration of sincere interest in joining the openness movement and helping to inform the development of a formal U.S. Animal Research Openness Agreement. Signatories are currently being welcomed. See here.


The U.S. Animal Research Openness Agreement, when developed, will be an agreed upon set of commitments that signatories will adhere to in their effort in increase openness about animal research.

How much does it cost?

There is no cost related to participating in the USARO Initiative and signing the Statement of Intent.

Costs for increasing animal research openness at your institution vary depending on your goals and interests. There are many low-cost ways to expand communications about why, when and how animal studies are essential in your research program.

Those wishing to financially support the USARO Initiative can send an email to for more information. 100% of contributions go toward supporting the Initiative and its activities.

Do other countries have an animal research openness agreement?

Yes. There are currently 10 countries that have formal country-wide animal research openness agreements. You can learn more about them here.

Have other questions or want more information?

We are happy to answer your questions and/or provide more information on how to join the effort. Email us at

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