The California Veterinary Medical Association’s Eight Principles of Animal Care, Use, and Welfare


As veterinarians, we strive to improve animal health and welfare, and endorse the following eight integrated principles founded on our education, experience, commitment to and compassion for animals:


1.     Animals are sentient beings with wants and needs that may differ from those of humans and are worthy of respect from individuals and society.

2.     Animals’ interests should be given thoughtful consideration by individuals and society when determining acceptable care, use, and welfare. This requires the balancing of scientific knowledge and ethical, philosophical, and moral values.

3.     Acceptable care, use, and welfare of an animal may not always serve the individual animal, and should be balanced by the greater benefits to other animals, humans, or society.

4.     The use of animals should be purposeful, whether for food and fiber, recreation, companionship, transportation, work, education, or the advancement of scientific knowledge.

5.     Animals should be provided with water, nutrition, and an environment appropriate to their care, use, and welfare, with consideration for their safety, health, and species-specific biological and behavioral needs and natures.

6.     Animals should be cared for in ways that minimize fear, distress, pain, and suffering.

7.     Owners are responsible for providing their animals with timely and appropriate preventive, medical, dental, and surgical care, and should ensure that their animals only reproduce responsibly.

8.    Animals should be provided a humane death.

(Oct 2004, Rev Jan 2015)

© 2022 California Veterinary Medical Association

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