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Use and Care of Non-Human Vertebrates

The basic aim of experiments involving animals is to achieve an understanding of life processes and to further society's knowledge. Experiments requiring the use of vertebrates must have a clearly defined objective, demonstrate a biological principle, and/or answer a scientific inquiry. Such experiments must be conducted with a respect for life and an appreciation of humane considerations, which must be afforded to both vertebrates and invertebrates.

To the degree possible, all students should be cautioned about doing projects that involve vertebrates. However, if the teacher and the student feel that vertebrates must be used, the following rules MUST and WILL apply. This policy will place the Illinois Junior Academy of Science in close accord with the "School Code of the State of Illinois."

It is strongly recommended that living organisms such as plants, bacteria, fungi, protists, worms, snails, insects or other invertebrates be used. Their wide availability, simplicity of care, and subsequent disposal make them very suitable for student work. If a non-human vertebrate project is decided upon, the following rules MUST be followed.

  1. The student and the sponsor have the responsibility to see that all animals have proper care in well-ventilated, properly lighted locations with proper nutrition, proper temperature, adequate water, and sanitary surroundings. Care must be taken to see that the organisms are properly cared for during weekends and vacation periods.
  2. No primary or secondary cultures involving warm-blooded animals taken directly (mouth, throat, skin, etc.) or indirectly (cage debris, droppings, etc.) will be allowed. However, cultures purchased from reputable biological supply houses or research facilities are suitable for student use.
  3. No intrusive or pain-producing techniques may be used. Included in these techniques would be things such as surgery, injections, taking of blood, burning, electrical stimulation or giving of over-the-counter or prescription drugs and other chemical agents to measure their effect.
  4. No changes may be made in an organism’s environment that could result in undue stress, an injury, or death to the animal.
  5. For maze running and other learning or conditioning activities, food or water cannot be withheld for more than 24 hours.  If the animal has a high metabolic rate, then food or water cannot be withheld for a length of time that would produce undue stress on the animal.
  6. Chicken or other bird embryo projects are allowed, but the treatment must be discontinued at or before 72 hours before scheduled hatch day. At that time, the egg must be destroyed.
  7. Projects that involve behavioral studies of newly hatched chickens or other birds will be allowed if no changes have been made in the normal incubation and hatching of the organism, and that all vertebrate rules are followed. (Only non-manipulated eggs may be hatched).