Courses of Study 2021-2022 
    Jun 22, 2024  
Courses of Study 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Use of Animals for Courses

Vertebrate animals serve as an invaluable aid in instruction. It is recognized, however, that some students have ethical objections to the use of vertebrate animals in this manner. Courses that use vertebrate animals are identified as such in the course descriptions. Students who have concerns about the use of animals in these courses should consult the course instructor for more information about the precise ways in which the animals are used. A set of university guidelines on the use of vertebrate animals in teaching for faculty and students is printed below and is available from departments in which the courses are offered. The use of live vertebrates in instruction is reviewed and approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

Students enrolled in courses that require working with live vertebrate animals may need to enroll in Cornell’s Animal Users Health and Safety Program (AUHSP) ( or may be required to receive instruction in health and safety aspects of working with animals, before they can work with animals or enter an animal facility.

Background: On December 8, 1987, the Cornell University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee approved a series of guidelines recommended to them by the University Animal Welfare Committee. These guidelines were prepared by a subcommittee of faculty members after they had the opportunity to evaluate the use of animals in undergraduate teaching (and student concerns for the same) from a representative sample of instructors.


  1. For demonstrating certain principles and procedures, the use of animals in teaching is recognized as an invaluable, often essential, pedagogical device.

  2. For courses in which vertebrate animals are to be used in dissection, surgery, or in other experimental procedures, the course description that appears in Courses of Study should alert students to this fact.

  3. A detailed description of the intended use of vertebrate animals should be available to students upon request to the instructor of each course.

  4. Faculty members are encouraged to explain their reasons and need for using vertebrate animals and should indicate to students the availability of the procedures described in item 8 below.

  5. Students are encouraged to discuss their concerns about the instructional use of vertebrate animals with the instructor of the course.

  6. When consistent with pedagogical objectives, faculty members are encouraged to consider adopting alternative methods and procedures that do not involve the use of live animals.

  7. When students object on ethical or other valid grounds to participating in an exercise using vertebrate animals, instructors are encouraged to provide alternative means when consistent with pedagogical objectives for learning the same material.

  8. A student who is reluctant to voice his or her concerns about animal use in a particular course or who thinks these concerns have not received proper attention may seek assistance from the Chair of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee at (607) 255-3749 or by e-mail at Confidential reports may be made to

  9. Faculty members should instruct students in the responsible use of animals. For more information, see the University Policy on the Care and Use of Animals in Teaching and Research.