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The National Institutes of Health supports research that leads the way to medical discoveries that can save lives and improve health.

NIH is the steward of medical and behavioral research for the Nation. Its mission is science in pursuit of fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to extend healthy life and reduce illness and disability.

To carry out this mission, NIH has ethical and legal obligations to ensure the welfare of and minimize risks for all who participate in NIH-funded research. This includes both humans and animals.

All animals used in federally funded research are protected by laws, regulations, and policies to ensure the smallest possible number of subjects and the greatest commitment to their comfort. Fulfilling these protections is a collaborative effort between NIH, federally supported scientific investigators, and research institutions.

NIH’s Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) provides oversight of all NIH-supported research activities that involve animals. OLAW monitors NIH-funded institutions to ensure their compliance with animal welfare laws and policies, and it also investigates allegations it receives from sources inside and outside the institution concerning inappropriate animal care or use involving studies NIH is supporting.