The science or practice of farming, including growing crops and raising animals for the production of food, fiber, fuel, and other products. An interesting overview of agriculture can be found here:

Source: USDA National Agricultural Library

The American Kennel Club (AKC®)

The American Kennel Club (AKC®) is the world’s largest and oldest not-for-profit all-breed registry, with more than 190 recognized breeds and counting. It is dedicated to upholding the integrity of its registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs, and breeding for type and function. The AKC has more than 5,000 licensed and member clubs and affiliated organizations. Each year, the AKC receives more than 3 million entries to more than 22,000 sports and events annually, and awards almost 50,000 Canine Good Citizen certificates. Founded in 1884, the AKC and its affiliated organizations advocate for the purebred dog as a family companion, advance canine health and well-being, work to protect the rights of all dog owners, and promote responsible dog ownership. The AKC Rescue Network is the largest network of dog rescue groups in the country, with more than 450 groups participating. Over 5 million micro-chipped or tattooed pets are enrolled in the AKC Reunite program, with more than 500,000 pets successfully returned to their owners.

Source: American Kennel Club


In the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, which sets mandatory standards for all research facilities receiving federal funds, an animal is “any vertebrate.” Animal also has working definitions, depending on the context of use or classification. (1) In common parlance, an animal is any multicellular but nonhuman member of the kingdom Animalia. (2) In the Animal Welfare Act, however, an animal is “any live or dead dog, cat, nonhuman primate, guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, or any other warm-blooded animal, which is being used or is intended for use for research, testing, experimentation, or exhibition purposes or as a pet. This term excludes: Birds, rats of the genus Rattus and mice of genus Mus bred for use in research.”

Source: The Hastings Center

Animal Cruelty

Acts of violence or neglect perpetrated against animals are considered animal cruelty. Animal cruelty laws vary by state, and violations may constitute a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the jurisdiction. Many animal cruelty laws specifically exclude accepted animal husbandry practices involving farm animals, animals used in research, and lawful hunting and trapping of wildlife. Some states have training and reporting programs for social workers who suspect animal abuse during the course of their work in domestic violence and child abuse and some states provide immunity to veterinarians who report suspected abuse.

Generally, animal cruelty can be divided into two categories: neglect and intentional cruelty. Examples of intentional cruelty include, among others, overt abuse, when an individual purposely inflicts physical harm or injury on an animal, or involvement with dog fighting or cock fighting. Acts of neglect include companion animals being neglected or denied basic necessities of care, such as food, water, shelter, or veterinary care.

Source: U.S. Legal

Animal Hoarding

An animal hoarder is defined as someone who has accumulated a large number of animals and who: 1) fails to provide minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, and veterinary care; 2) fails to act on the deteriorating condition of the animals (including disease, starvation or death) and the environment (severe overcrowding, extremely unsanitary conditions); and often, 3) is unaware of the negative effects of the collection on their own health and well-being and on that of other family members (1). Animal hoarding has been gaining more attention from researchers in various areas of study, including sociological, psychological, and veterinary fields. Animal hoarding is considered a special manifestation of compulsive hoarding


Animal Rights

  1. Theview that (non-human) animals have moral or legal rights. Proponents of animal rights tend to regard animal experimentation as unethical because animals cannot consent to research.
    Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
  • Animal rights means that animals deserve certain kinds of consideration—consideration of what is in their best interests, regardless of whether they are “cute,” useful to humans, or an endangered species and regardless of whether any human cares about them at all. It means recognizing that animals are not ours to use—for food, clothing, entertainment, or experimentation.
    Source: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Animal Rights Extremism

There are hundreds of animal rights groups operating in the United States. Criminal activities by the extremists of these groups, ranging from misdemeanor trespass and harassment to property damage, assault and arson, pose the gravest threat to the biomedical research community. Such actions are designed to intimidate and silence researchers while forcing the research community to divert precious dollars into security. A memo left by the activists who broke into a university research lab exposes the method in their madness: “We realize that every penny worth of damage we cause represents money unavailable for the purchase, mutilation and cost of expensive and sophisticated security systems now necessary to keep us out of research facilities and animals in.”

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and its sister organization the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), were responsible for the vast majority of terrorist acts committed in the United States in the 1990s. These two underground organizations have claimed responsibility for more than $90 million in property damage. Since 2000, there has been a marked escalation in the violence and the FBI has warned that all institutions involved in biomedical research–and anyone associated with them–are potential targets.

Source: National Association for Biomedical Research

Animals in Research

  1. Any live, vertebrate animal used or intended for use in research, research training, experimentation, psychological, or biological testing or for related purposes.
    Source: National Institutes of Health
  • Scientists use animals to learn more about health problems that affect both humans and animals, and to assure the safety of new medical treatments. Some of these problems involve processes that can only be studied in a living organism. Scientists study animals when there is no alternative and it is impractical or unethical to study humans.

Animals are good research subjects for a variety of reasons. They are biologically similar to humans and susceptible to many of the same health problems. Also, they have short life-cycles so they can easily be studied throughout their whole life-span or across several generations. In addition, scientists can control the environment around the animal (diet, temperature, lighting, etc.), which would be difficult to do with people. However, the most important reason why animals are used is that it would be wrong to deliberately expose human beings to health risks in order to observe the course of a disease.

Animals are needed in research to develop drugs and medical procedures to treat diseases. Scientists may discover such drugs and procedures using research methods that do not involve animals. If the new therapy seems promising, it is then tested in animals to see whether it seems to be safe and effective. If the results of the animal studies are favorable, human volunteers are asked to take part in a clinical trial. The animal studies are done first to give medical researchers a better idea of what benefits and complications they are likely to see in humans.
Source: American Physiological Society

Animals in Research (Regulatory Controls)

While proper care of animals used in research has been an ongoing priority for the majority of the scientific community, there have been some instances of mistreatment of animals in research laboratories. As a consequence of these occurrences, as well as pressure from animal protection groups and the public, Congress enacted laws to regulate the care and use of laboratory animals. Currently there are several layers of oversight of animal research, which are outlined below.

Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information

Animal Science

Animal Science is concerned with the science and business of producing domestic livestock species, including but not limited to beef cattle, dairy cattle, horses, poultry, sheep, and swine.

Source: American Society of Animal Science

Animal Scientist

An animal scientist applies principles of the biological, physical, and social sciences to the problems associated with livestock production and management

Source: American Society of Animal Science

Animal Welfare

Animal welfare is a human responsibility that encompasses all aspects of animal well-being, including proper housing, management, disease prevention and treatment, responsible care, humane handling, and, when necessary, humane euthanasia. For sake of distinction, animal welfare refers to the state of the animal, whereas the treatment that an animal receives is covered by other terms such as animal care, animal husbandry, and humane treatment. Protecting an animal’s welfare means providing for its physical and mental needs.

See also Three Rs

Source: American Veterinary Medical Association

Animal Welfare Act

The Animal Welfare Act was signed into law in 1966. It is the only Federal law in the United States that regulates the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport, and by dealers. Other laws, policies, and guidelines may include additional species coverage or specifications for animal care and use, but all refer to the Animal Welfare Act as the minimum acceptable standard. This federal law includes restrictions on the importation of live dogs for purposes of resale, prohibitions on animal fighting ventures, and provisions intended to prevent the theft of personal pets. Facilities using regulated animals for regulated purposes must provide their animals with adequate housing, sanitation, nutrition, water and veterinary care, and they must protect their animals from extreme weather and temperatures. The Act is enforced by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Animal Care.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture


  1. Headquartered in New York City, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is a privately funded 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, founded in 1866, “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.” The ASPCA claims to have more than 2 million supporters nationwide.
    Source: ASPCA

  2. Both ASPCA (the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and HSUS (the Humane Society of the United States) spend a great deal of money advertising on television and sending mail throughout the nation asking for charitable funds. Neither the ASPCA nor HSUS, however, are your local animal welfare organization. They do not operate the shelter for homeless animals in your community. They are not “parent” organizations and the local humane societies and SPCAs are not their chapters.
    Source: Huffington Post

3.   ASPCA reported revenue of $248,084,106 in 2018.
Source: Charity Navigator

Backyard Breeder

See “Casual Breeder”


Generally, a deviation from impartiality or a point of view that is not neutral. When used in connection with animals or research, it can be described as the tendency for research results to reflect the scientist’s (or sponsor’s) subjective opinions, unproven assumptions, political views, or personal or financial interests, rather than the truth or facts.

Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences


The study of ethical, social, or legal issues arising in biomedicine and biomedical research.

Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Biomedical Research

Research that is conducted to increase fundamental knowledge and understanding of the physical, chemical and functional mechanisms of human and animal life processes and diseases.

Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine

Breed Enthusiast

See “Responsible Breeder”


  1. The term “breeder” means “the person who directs the final breeding creating a variety or who discovers and develops a variety. If the actions are conducted by an agent on behalf of a principal, the principal, rather than the agent, shall be considered the breeder. The term does not include a person who redevelops or rediscovers a variety the existence of which is publicly known or a matter of common knowledge.”
    Source: U.S. Legal
  • Breeders include those who select members of species for propagation of breed improvements.
    Source: NAIA

  • The Animal Welfare Act requires wholesale breeders and dealers who supply animals to pet stores, brokers, or research facilities to be licensed with USDA. Breeders and dealers are required to meet the minimum standards of humane animal care and treatment established by the AWA and enforced by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). 
    Source: USDA

Breed-Specific Legislation

Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL) is, in simple terms, a statute or regulation that is directed toward one or more specific breeds of dogs.  The majority of BSL is focused on breeds perceived as “dangerous,” or those that can be described as having propensities for aggression and violent behavior.  

Source: Animal Legal & Historical Center

Cage Free Husbandry

See “Free Range Husbandry”

Casual Breeder

Casual breeders are non-commercial breeders who raise dogs in their homes and sell directly to the public. Known pejoratively as “backyard breeders,” they breed litters so children or other family members can witness a birth; because they believe that a female dog needs a litter to be “fulfilled;” because they hope to earn a little extra money and haven’t yet learned that litters often cost more than they bring in; and/or because they did not neuter their pets or keep them properly confined. Typically, they also raise their animals in the home where a puppy purchaser can see the dam and the conditions under which the litter was raised, but they generally lack the knowledge and experience necessary to make prudent breeding decisions. They often lack in-depth knowledge about breed conformation, temperament, and training and are often uneducated about general health and inherited diseases, normal and abnormal puppy and breed behavior, and training techniques for instilling good manners or correcting unacceptable behaviors. They are likely to produce the popular breed or cross breed of the moment, and are less likely to join clubs, participate in dog sports, attend seminars, help with public education efforts, contribute to breed rescue efforts, or take back dogs if placements are not successful. 

Source: NAIA Discover Animals


Taking steps to prevent or deter the public communication of information or ideas. In science, censorship may involve prohibiting the publication of research or allowing publication only in redacted form (with some information removed).

Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Clinical Trial

A research study in which one or more human subjects are prospectively assigned to one or more interventions (which may include a placebo or another control) to evaluate the effects of those interventions on health-related biomedical or behavioral outcomes.

Source: National Institutes of Health

Clinical Trial, Phases

Sequential stages of clinical testing, required by regulatory agencies, used in the development of medical treatments. Pre-clinical testing involves experiments on animals or cells to estimate safety and potential efficacy. Phase I trials are small studies (50-100 subjects) conducted in human beings for the first time to assess safety, pharmacology, or dosing. Phase I studies are usually conducted on healthy volunteers though some are conducted on patients with terminal diseases, such as cancer patients. Phase II trials are larger studies (500 or more subjects) conducted on patients with a disease to assess safety and efficacy and establish a therapeutic dose. Phase III trials are large studies (up to several thousand subjects) conducted on patients to obtain more information on safety and efficacy. Phase IV (or post-marketing) studies are conducted after a treatment has been approved for marketing to gather more information on safety and efficacy and to expand the range of the population being treated.

Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Commercial Breeder

  1. Commercial breeders include breeders selling directly to the public from their facility or indirectly; for example, over the Internet sight unseen and/or to pet stores. The best commercial breeders not only provide clean, safe kennels for their dogs, they provide appropriate veterinary care and treatment of their dogs, vaccinate and worm the puppies, and provide handling and socialization before the puppies leave their facilities.
    Source: NAIA Discover Animals
  • The Center for Food Security and Public Health in collaboration with USDA APHIS Animal Care provide information about licensing and regulatory requirements for commercial dog breeders.
    Source: APHIS

Commercial Kennel

A kennel is commercial if it breeds and sells puppies primarily as a business. A commercial kennel may have only a few dogs or dozens or even hundreds of dogs. Some sell puppies directly to the public from their facilities. Some sell to pet stores or to dealers who in turn sell to pet stores, and some sell directly through print or electronic media to consumers who do not see their puppy until the transaction is completed online and the puppy is shipped to them. Commercial kennels with five or more breeding females, which sell dogs for resale in pet stores, over the Internet, or through magazine ads are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). These kennels are inspected annually for compliance with a set of housing and care standards, including a plan for veterinary care. Puppies sold in pet stores possess AWA kennel license numbers that enable consumers to identify the source and inspection report of the source of a pet store puppy.

Source: NAIA Discover Animals

Common Rule

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regulations (45 CFR 46) for protecting human subjects, which has been adopted by 17 federal agencies. The Common Rule includes subparts with additional protections for children, neonates, pregnant women and fetuses, and prisoners.

Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO)

See “Factory Farm”

Conflict of Interest (COI)

A situation in which a person has a financial, personal, political or other interest which is likely to bias his or her judgment or decision-making as applied to the performance of his or her ethical or legal obligations or duties.

Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences


Recorded information used to test scientific hypotheses or theories. Data may include laboratory notebooks (paper or digital), field notes, transcribed interviews, spreadsheets, digital images, x-ray photographs, audio or video recordings, and outputs from machines (such as gas chromatographs or DNA sequencers). Original (or primary data) is drawn directly from the data source; secondary (or derived) data is based on the primary data.

Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences


Under the USDA APHIS definition, a dealer is any person who buys or sells any dogs, or negotiates the purchase of sale of any dog, for use as pets, for research or teaching purposes; or sells dogs wholesale for hunting, security, or breeding. Retail pet stores are not considered dealers, unless they sell dogs to research facilities, exhibitors (like a carnival or zoo), or other pet stores.


Debarking (Canine Devocalization)

Devocalization (also termed debarking, devoicing or bark softening) is a surgical procedure performed under general anesthesia to resect varying amounts of the vocal folds or cords. The result is diminished barking volume.

Source: American Veterinary Medical Association

Declawing (Onychectomy)

A human’s nail is actually a type of skin and if torn off, the nail will grow back. Cat’s claws attach to bone. During a declaw surgery, the bone that the nail attaches to is removed permanently.

Cats have three sections on each toe. During a declawing procedure, a section of bone is amputated. Along with this amputated bone, called the third or distant phalanx, a section of tendon and ligament is also removed.


Dog Fighting

Dog fighting is a type of blood sport illegal in the US and many countries worldwide. It is  generally defined as two or more game dogs against one another in a ring or a pit for the entertainment of the spectators or the gratification of the dogfighters, who are sometimes referred to as dog men. In rural areas, fights are often staged in barns or outdoor pits; in urban areas, fights may occur in garages, basements, warehouses, abandoned buildings, back alleys, neighborhood playgrounds, or in the streets. Dog fights usually last until one dog is declared a winner, which occurs when one dog fails to scratch, one dog dies, or one dog jumps out of the pit. Sometimes dog fights end without declaring a winner; for instance, the dog’s owner may call the fight.

Source: Wikipedia

See also: Animal Legal & Historical Center, Chart of State Dog Fighting Statutes

Dog Trafficking

A term used to describe the irresponsible and unsafe aspects of humane relocation, and often associated with the business of adoption, placement, or sale of dogs transported for distribution to the public.

Source: National Animal Interest Alliance

Egg Hatchery

An installation or building in which the hatching of poultry eggs is artificially controlled for commercial purposes.

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Emotional Support Animal

  1. An emotional support animal is a type of assistance animal that is recognized as a “reasonable accommodation” for a person with a disability under the federal Fair Housing Act (FHAct, 42 U.S.C.A. 3601 et seq.). The assistance animal is not a pet according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD is the agency that oversees the FHAct and investigates claims of housing discrimination.
    Source: Animal Legal & Historical Center
  • Emotional support animals, comfort animals, and therapy dogs are not service animals under Title II and Title III of the ADA.
    Source: Americans with Disabilities Act

Ethical Dilemma

A situation in which two or more potential actions appear to be equally justifiable from an ethical point of view, i.e. one must choose between the lesser of two evils or the greater of two goods.

Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences


  1. Generally, in the context of animal welfare, euthanasia means killing animals as painlessly as possible. Advocates for animal welfare argue that the means of euthanizing research animals sanctioned by the American Veterinary Medical Association cause pain and distress.
    Source: The Hastings Center

  2. The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and Animal Welfare Regulations (AWR), 9 CFR Part 1, §1.1 (U.S. Department of Agriculture 2002), define euthanasia as the humane destruction of an animal accomplished by a method that produces rapid unconsciousness and subsequent death without evidence of pain or distress, or a method that utilizes anesthesia produced by an agent that causes painless loss of consciousness….the term euthanasia continues to be used in animal care and use programs in research, teaching, and testing.
    Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information

  3. Euthanasia is derived from the Greek terms eu meaning good and thanatos meaning death. The term is usually used to describe ending the life of an individual animal in a way that minimizes or eliminates pain and distress. A good death is tantamount to the humane termination of an animal’s life. In the context of AVMA Guidelines, the veterinarian’s prima facie duty in carrying out euthanasia includes, but is not limited to, (1) their humane disposition to induce death in a manner that is in accord with an animal’s interest and/or because it is a matter of welfare, and (2) the use of humane techniques to induce the most rapid and painless and distress-free death possible. These conditions, while separate, are not mutually exclusive and are codependent.
    Source: AVMA  

  4. It is important to understand that USDA APHIS recognizes a difference between euthanasia and depopulation. Euthanasia involves transitioning an animal to death as painlessly and stress-free as possible. Mass depopulation is a method by which large numbers of animals must be destroyed quickly and efficiently with as much consideration given to the welfare of the animals as practicable. However, for the purposes of this presentation, the terms mass depopulation and euthanasia may be used interchangeably or simply be referred to as “euthanasia,” regardless of whether they are actually considered euthanasia or depopulation….

    Euthanasia and depopulation may be practiced during an animal health emergency, such as a major disease outbreak or a foreign animal disease (FAD), to help prevent or mitigate the spread of the disease through the elimination of infected, exposed, or potentially exposed animals. It also serves to remove contaminated livestock from the food supply, protect the nation’s agricultural and national economy, and safeguard public health.
    Source: USDA APHIS

Euthanasia Request

Some people request local shelters to euthanize their pets. The pet may be suffering from a terminal disease, a serious injury, a temperament problem or simply failing due to old age. People of limited means sometimes turn to their local shelter for this service instead of taking their pet to a veterinarian. A euthanasia request can also be made to a veterinarian by a pet owner.

Source: NAIA Shelter Project

Extreme Rescue

Saving dogs and cats in need can become all-consuming. It can take over the lives of some rescuers who often wind up keeping more animals than they can properly care for. They market their animals using stories that play to raw emotions rather than reason. They disparage other sources of pets as morally inferior choices, alleging that they were bred under inhumane conditions or that others are motivated by greed. They save and place animals that are too ill to be rehabilitated, creating anguish for the adopting family. They accept and place dogs with known bite histories, putting families at risk. They sometimes place stolen animals they’ve taken from pet owners they judge as unacceptable. And when the local supply of rescue animals is depleted, or the rescuer’s unethical and/or illegal practices have disqualified them from receiving animals from the local shelter, they seek and import animals from distant regions of the United states or even foreign countries for placement in the United States. Extreme rescuers believe that rescuing animals is so important, it trumps all other moral values – that the ends justify the means.

Source: NAIA Shelter Project

Factory Farm

The term “factory farm” is a term of disparagement often used interchangeably with concentrated animal feeding operation, more commonly referred to as a CAFO. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies CAFOs as large livestock facilities that raise animals in confined settings. According to the EPA, these facilities “congregate animals, feed, manure and urine, dead animals, and production operations on a small land area. Feed is brought to the animals rather than the animals grazing or otherwise seeking feed in pastures, fields, or on rangeland.”  


Family Farm (See also “Farm”)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) definition of a “family farm” is any farm where the majority of the business is owned by the operator and his or her relatives: that is, by a family. In the United States, 98% of all the 2.2 million farms meet this definition.



A farm itself is defined by USDA as any operation selling $1,000 or more of agricultural products in a year. Over 1.3 million farms counted by USDA are operations where the owner is not looking to make a living from farming. That means only about 900,000 U.S. farms are operated by full-time farmers who derive their livelihood from the land.



Living outdoors without taming or domestication by humans.

Source: Merriam-Webster


Flipping is a practice used by some rescue groups to turn rescue into a profitable activity. Such rescue groups use their status as rescuers to obtain desirable animals from shelters at little or no cost, after which they offer them for sale for a higher amount online or by some other outlet, allowing the rescue group to make a profit.

Source: NAIA Shelter Project

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

A federal agency in charge of approving the marketing of drugs, biologics, medical devices, cosmetics, and food additives. The FDA has adopted human subjects research regulations which are similar to the Common Rule; however, the FDA rules do not allow exceptions from informed consent requirements unless a study qualifies as Emergency research.

Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences


Fosters, also called foster homes, provide temporary off-site care and housing for shelter and rescue pets. A foster home does not take ownership of the animals it accepts, but simply agrees to house and care for the animal for a period of time. Socializing the pets in their care is an important role of foster homes. Fostering is an essential method of helping shelter and rescue pets and reducing euthanasia because it frees up limited shelter and rescue space.

Source: NAIA Shelter Project

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

A law enacted in the U.S. and other countries which allows the public to obtain access to government documents, including documents related to government-funded scientific research, such as data, protocols, and emails. Several types of documents are exempt from FOIA requests, including classified research and confidential information pertaining to human subjects research.

Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Free Range Husbandry

A system of animal management where animals are not confined and can freely roam and forage over a large area of open land.

Source: USDA National Agricultural Library

Helsinki Declaration

Ethical guidelines for conducting medical research involving human subjects research adopted by the World Medical Association.

Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Heritage Breeds

Heritage breeds are traditional livestock breeds that were raised by our forefathers. These are the breeds of a bygone era, before industrial agriculture became a mainstream practice. These breeds were carefully selected and bred over time to develop traits that made them well-adapted to the local environment and they thrived under farming practices and cultural conditions that are very different from those found in modern agriculture.

Traditional, historic breeds retain essential attributes for survival and self-sufficiency – fertility, foraging ability, longevity, maternal instincts, ability to mate naturally, and resistance to diseases and parasites.

Heritage animals once roamed the pastures of America’s pastoral landscape, but today these breeds are in danger of extinction. Modern agriculture has changed, causing many of these breeds to fall out of favor. Heritage breeds store a wealth of genetic resources that are important for our future and the future of our agricultural food system.
Source: The Livestock Conservancy

Human–Animal Bond

The human-animal bond is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviors essential to the health and wellbeing of both. This includes, among other things, emotional, psychological, and physical interactions of people, animals, and the environment. The veterinarian’s role in the human-animal bond is to maximize the potentials of this relationship between people and animals.

The AVMA recognizes: (1) the existence of the human-animal bond and its importance to client and community health, (2) that the human-animal bond has existed for thousands of years, and (3) that the human-animal bond has major significance for veterinary medicine, because, as veterinary medicine serves society, it fulfills both human and animal needs.
Source: American Veterinary Medical Association


The Animal Welfare Act describes the humane treatment of laboratory animals this way: “minimum requirements with respect to handling, housing, feeding, watering, sanitation, ventilation, shelter from extremes of weather and temperatures, adequate veterinary care, including the appropriate use of anesthetic, analgesic or tranquilizing drugs . . . and separation by species.” This definition excludes enrichment and other efforts to meet species-specific needs, such as companionship.

Source: The Hastings Center

Humane Relocation

Humane relocation refers to the practice of transporting un-owned pets in need of adoption (primarily dogs and cats) from areas with a surplus of homeless pets to areas with a higher demand for pets and more shelter and rescue space. When done responsibly, it is a cooperative, common sense method of finding homes for pets that might otherwise be euthanized. When done without care, it does nothing to solve the problem of pet overpopulation at its source, and in some cases even encourages it. Worse, it can turn participating rescues and shelters into unregulated pet stores that deal in animals of unknown backgrounds—animals that may have serious behavioral problems or may be infected with parasites and diseases not  commonly found in the receiving region or problems that have been previously brought under control or eradicated from the receiving region (e.g. whip worm, heart worm, or rabies).

Source: NAIA Shelter Project

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)

  1. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), based in Washington, D.C., is an American nonprofit organization founded in 1954. The mission of HSUS is “to fight the big fights to end suffering for all animals.” The HSUS claims to have millions of supporters and to rescue and care for thousands of animals every year (with its affiliates).
    Source: HSUS

  2. Both ASPCA (the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and HSUS (the Humane Society of the United States) spend a great deal of money advertising on television and sending mail throughout the nation asking for charitable funds. Neither the ASPCA nor HSUS, however, are your local animal welfare organization. They do not operate the shelter for homeless animals in your community. They are not “parent” organizations and the local humane societies and SPCAs are not their chapters.
    Source: Huffington Post

  3. HSUS reported revenue in  2018 of $128,828,801.
    Source: Charity Navigator

Human Subjects Research

Research involving the collection, storage, or use of private data or biological samples from living individuals by means of interactions, interventions, surveys, or other research methods or procedures.

Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)

A committee responsible for reviewing and overseeing animal research conducted at an institution. IACUC’s usually include members from different backgrounds and disciplines, comprised of institutional and outside members, scientists and non-scientists.

Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Intellectual Property

Legally recognized property pertaining to the products of intellectual activity, such as creative works or inventions. Forms of intellectual property include copyrights on creative works and patents on inventions.

Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences


A kennel is a shelter for the breeding or boarding of dogs and cats. A kennel owner is a person, partnership, firm, company, or corporation professionally engaged in the business of sheltering or breeding cats or dogs for boarding, breeding, sale, training, hunting, companionship, or other purposes. State laws, which vary by state, govern the operation of kennels and typically require licensing and inspections.

Source: U.S. Legal

Laboratory Animal Science

The science and technology dealing with the procurement, breeding, care, health, and selection of animals used in biomedical research and testing.

Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine


Domestic or farmed animals raised for food and fiber such as hogs, sheep, cattle, and horses.

Source: USDA National Agricultural Library

The Livestock Conservancy

A nonprofit founded in 1977, The Livestock Conservancy is the leading organization in the United States working to protect over 150 breeds of livestock and poultry from extinction.  These rare breeds are part of our national heritage and represent a unique piece of the earth’s biodiversity. The loss of these breeds would impoverish agriculture and diminish the human spirit. The United States has inherited a rich variety of livestock breeds. For the sake of future generations, we must work together to safeguard these treasures.
Source: The Livestock Conservancy

No Kill

A term used within the animal shelter and rescue community to describe a set of goals aimed at ending the euthanasia of healthy, adoptable pets. The threshold for meeting the goal of “no kill” is an adoption rate of 90% or higher; the definition of “healthy, adoptable pets” can vary, but is generally viewed as an animal over eight weeks of age without behavioral, health, or injury problems that would make it unsafe or unsuitable for adoption. The no kill movement isn’t popular with everyone, though. Some activists and animal rights groups are critical of the no-kill movement because they don’t believe it accomplishes its stated goals and that it leads to additional problems (such as animal hoarding or putting an unfair strain on open-admission shelters), or that it is “pro-breeder.” Its appealing concept terminology and self-description can also be (and has been) criticized as “slick marketing” without substance.

Source: NAIA Shelter Project

Non-Commercial Breeder

Non-commercial breeders fall into two categories: 1) breed enthusiasts/responsible breeders, including dogs bred specifically for their ability to perform a certain job, hunting, for example, and 2) casual breeders who dabble in breeding or breed without properly educating themselves.

Source: NAIA Discover Animals

Not Tested on Animals

This phrase, found on some product labels, does not necessarily mean that the product involved no animal testing. It can mean that (1) the final product was not tested on animals, although the individual ingredients were tested separately; (2) the manufacturer or distributor did not test the product on animals, although someone else did; (3) the animal tests were done more than five years ago; or (4) the final product and its ingredients really were not tested on animals. No requirement for identifying the manner of “non testing” is prescribed by law or regulation.

Source: The Hastings Center

Nuremberg Code

The first international ethics code for human subjects research, adopted by the Nuremberg Council during the war crimes tribunals in 1947. The code was used as a basis for convicting Nazi physicians and scientists for war crimes related to their experiments on concentration camp prisoners.

Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Observer (or Hawthorne) Effect

The tendency for individuals to change their behavior when they know they are being observed. Some social science experiments use deception to control for the observer effect.

Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Open-Admission Animal Shelter

Sometimes referred to as an open-door shelter, it is an animal shelter that will accept any animal, even if only temporarily, regardless of the animal’s behavior or health status. Most municipal shelters are open-door shelters. Because of their willingness to accept dogs that may not be adoptable, this type of shelter rarely labels itself a no-kill shelter. This type of shelter also, in many cases, gets referral animals from “no kill” shelters that reject admissions that may require euthanization.

Source: NAIA Shelter Project

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

  1. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is an American animal rights organization based in Norfolk, Virginia. It claims that it has 6.5 million members and supporters, in addition to claiming that it is the “largest animal rights group in the world.” Its slogan is “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.”

    PETA’s mission is “to get the animal rights message out to as many people as possible.” It does this through unconventional publicity stunts, shocking statements, and expressions of understanding for radical action taken against research and businesses involved with animals.  PETA boasts, “We will do extraordinary things to get the word out about animal cruelty…. It is sometimes necessary to shake people up in order to initiate discussion, debate, questioning of the status quo, and, of course, action.”

    Source: PETA

  2. PETA revenue in 2018 was $52,948,473.
    Source: Charity Navigator


A pound is a government shelter used for confining stray animals

Source: NAIA Shelter Project

Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT)

Cruelty to animals is a federal crime under the new law, PACT, signed by President Trump in 2019. This bipartisan initiative bans the intentional crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impalement or other serious harm to “living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians.”

The law also bans “animal crush videos,” meaning any photograph, motion picture film, video or digital recording or electronic image that depicts animal cruelty.

The penalty for violating the law can include a fine, a prison term of up to seven years or both.

Source:National Public Radio

Puppy Mill

A commercial farming operation in which dogs are raised in large numbers and often in substandard or poor conditions.

Source: Merriam-Webster


A process for randomly assigning subjects to different treatment groups in a clinical trial or other biomedical experiment.

Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Reduction (See also, “refinement” and “replacement”)

One of the “three Rs” (along with refinement and replacement) often taken to guide the use of animals in biomedical research, reduction refers to efforts to use fewer animals to perform an experiment or test. Reduction can be achieved, for example, by using research methods that allow comparable amounts of data to be obtained with fewer animals or that allow more data to be obtained with a given number of animals.

Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Refinement (See also, “reduction” and “replacement”)

One of the “three Rs” (along with reduction and replacement), this term refers to the use of techniques and procedures that minimize pain and distress in research animals.

Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences


To rehome pets is to take pets in, house, and find a permanent home for pets needing homes. Rehomers generally operate out of private homes or networks of private homes rather than brick and mortar buildings. They can be run by a single person, by organizations and/or by networks of rescuers working together. Some are part of national breed club networks, such as the Doberman Pinscher Club of America, while others may focus on local shelter dogs. They can be well-organized groups with non-profit tax status and established codes of conduct. They can also be fly-by-night operations that hurt the pets they keep and mislead adopters about the background, health, and temperament of the pets they offer. People who rehome dogs sometimes are referred to as rescuers.

Source: NAIA Shelter Project

Replacement (See also, “refinement” and “reduction”)

One of the “three Rs” (along with reduction and refinement), the primary meaning is the research design strategy that seeks to achieve the desired data without the use of animals; that is, to replace the use of animals in data gathering with other equally productive testing methods. Examples include computer modeling and research on tissue culture, microorganisms in culture, or human volunteers. Replacement also sometimes refers to research conducted on tissue samples taken from an animal.  

Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences


Rescues take in, house and find permanent homes for pets in need. Unlike shelters they are not brick and mortar buildings, but generally operate out of private homes or networks of private homes. They can be run by a single person, by organizations and/or by networks of rescuers working together. Some are part of national breed club rescue networks while others may focus on local shelter dogs. They can be well organized groups with non-profit tax status and established codes of conduct. They can also be fly-by-night operations that hurt the pets they keep and mislead adopters about the background, health and temperament of the pets they offer.

Source: NAIA Shelter Project

Research Institution

An entity, such as a university or government or private laboratory, which is involved in conducting research that is designed to disclose previously unknown information.

Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Responsible Breeders

Non-commercial breeders also known as “breed enthusiasts,” responsible breeders breed and raise dogs in their homes, typically keeping one or two breeds of dogs in the house or in a clean kennel. Responsible breeders have a knowledge of husbandry (e.g. breed history and bloodlines) and ensure that puppies meet the standard of excellence for their breed (purebred or cross breed), including predictable health, coat, exercise needs, energy level, trainability, and temperament. Their breeding stock is screened for genetic diseases and structural problems prior to producing a litter. Responsible breeders spend time with prospective buyers prior to agreeing to sell a puppy, ensuring the breed matches their lifestyle and living conditions, offering advice before and after purchase on socializing, training, and other dog care issues to ensure success; providing a contract that protects the puppy and the buyers, as well as the breeder; and being prepared to take back a dog, showing a lifetime of responsibility for the animals they have bred. As members of breed clubs, responsible breeders follow breed club guidelines and codes of ethics as a source of purebred pet puppies.

Source: NAIA Discover Animals

Retail Rescue

Historically, rescue organizations operated without thoughts of profit. Many AKC parent breed-club rescues, for example, operated under well-developed codes of ethics and widely accepted operating guidelines. The goal was to break even: to raise enough money to be able to rehabilitate animals with a reasonable chance of success in a new home; to be able to fix a broken bone, to eradicate parasites, cure ear infections, to housebreak or socialize a dog, and so on. Many local humane societies also operated on this basis with public donation support. As the number of dogs needing rescue in certain locales decreased, however, a new kind of rescue model emerged. Some humane societies found that the decrease in local dogs needing placement meant that importation of dogs from out of state or out of the country was necessary to remain at a level of business activity that supported their size and staff. Other rescues found that by abandoning some or all of their predecessors’ sourcing guidelines and buying from dog auctions or marginal kennels, accepting dogs with temperament problems or from distant and/or unknown sources; by doing less in the way of rehabilitation and by moving a vast number of dogs, they could make a profit. Because these rescues operate publicly as not-for-profit organizations with IRS tax status, the fact that retail rescues are businesses seeking to make a profit is blurred in the public’s mind. It may also be unclear to the public that their tax status has nothing to do with animal welfare standards. The result is that the standards of care and business practices of retail rescues are judged by a different standard than are businesses known to be operating for profit. Retail rescues are unregulated in many states.

Source: NAIA Shelter Project

Retail Pet Store

(1) A place of business or residence at which the seller, buyer, and the animal available for sale are physically present so that every buyer may personally observe the animal prior to purchasing and/or taking custody of it after purchase. (2) A place where only the following animals are sold or offered for sale as pets: dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, gophers, chinchillas, domestic ferrets, domestic farm animals, birds, and coldblooded species.


Retail Shelter

A retail shelter is an animal business that maintains its public image as a traditional humane society, SPCA or rescue, but has evolved in recent years (see “retail rescue”) to operate more like a pet store than a traditional shelter. Such shelters often travel long distances out of their service areas to acquire animals to sell rather than serving the needs of local animals. Some retail shelters and rescues import dogs from foreign countries to keep their shelters well stocked. Along with a large number of dogs and cats, retail shelters often sell a full range of pet supplies to their customers: leashes, toys, pet food and health care products. Retail shelters call their sales adoptions, and market themselves as animal protection organizations, marketing claims that give them a marketplace advantage over other commercial and more strictly regulated pet sellers.

Source: NAIA Shelter Project

Service Animal

A service animal is any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Tasks performed can include, among other things, pulling a wheelchair, retrieving dropped items, alerting a person to a sound, reminding a person to take medication, turning on and off lights, or pressing an elevator button. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not considered service animals.

Source: Americans with Disabilities Act


An animal shelter is an enterprise that takes in animals relinquished by members of the public as well as strays, with the objective of adopting them into permanent homes. Unlike rescues, shelters maintain permanent facilities for housing the animals they keep.

Source: NAIA Shelter Project


  1. A slaughterhouse, also called an abattoir, is a facility where farm animals are killed and processed into meat products.
    Source: Science Daily
  • The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) oversees slaughter inspection. Slaughter facilities cannot conduct slaughter operations if FSIS inspection personnel are not present. FSIS conducts carcass-by-carcass inspection at all federally inspected slaughter facilities and verifies that establishments follow all food safety and humane handling regulations.
    Source: USDA


The idea, defended by philosopher Peter Singer, that treating human beings as morally different from animals is a form of discrimination similar to racism. Singer argues that since all animals deserve equal moral consideration, most forms of animal experimentations. are unethical.

Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences


  1. A stockyard is a profit or nonprofit market for livestock producers, feeders, market agencies, and buyers, where live cattle, sheep, or hogs, are received, held, or kept for sale and shipment in commerce. The operation and maintenance of a stockyard is also subject to regulation by the state under its police power for protecting the health and welfare of citizens. Therefore, the state requires a license to be obtained in order to operate and maintain a stockyard, and that the licensee furnish a bond insuring compliance with applicable statutes, rules, and regulations. Stockyards, by conducting interstate commerce, are subject to federal regulation under the 1921 Packers and Stockyards Act [7 USCS §§ 181 et seq.]. The act is aimed at ensuring just and reasonable rates charged to customers and the maintenance of open and free competition among buyers and sellers.
    Source: U.S.
  • Stockyard means a livestock market which has received notice under section 302(b) of the Act that it has been determined by the Secretary to come within the definition of “stockyard” under section 302(a) of the Grain Inspectors Packers and Stockyards Act (GIPSA).
    Source: USDA GIPSA


A stray animal is a shelter animal that was admitted as a lost dog or cat, not one that was relinquished by its owner to the shelter

Source: NAIA Shelter Project

Sustainable Agriculture

An integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will, over the long term: (A) satisfy human food and fiber needs; (B) enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agriculture economy depends; (C) make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls; (D) sustain the economic viability of farm operations; and (E) enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.

Source: USDA National Agricultural Library

Three Rs

Ethical guidelines for protecting animal welfare in research, including reduction (reducing the number of animals used in research), replacement (replacing higher species with lower ones or animals with cells or computer models), and refinement (refining research methods to minimize pain and suffering).

Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Traditional Humane Society or SPCA

A traditional humane society or SPCA is an organization that operates one or more brick-and-mortar animal shelters, whose primary role is to shelter and place homeless animals in their community and raise awareness about animal welfare and abuse issues.

Source: NAIA Shelter Project

Zoonotic Diseases

Also known as zoonoses, zoonotic diseases are caused by infections that are transmissible between animals and people.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention