The term "random source" refers to animals used in laboratory work which were not bred specifically for that purpose. The use of such animals (including unclaimed pet animals from pounds and shelters) for research and testing is a longstanding tradition, a practice still strongly defended by many scientists. In the preparation of this paper, several of these individuals at the National Institutes of Health and other research facilities were invited in writing to provide published evidence supporting this position. Many opinions were offered, but no empirical evidence. Not one research study was forthcoming to support the claim that random source animals are good "animal models" as compared to purpose-bred animals or that certain studies require the use of random source animals. Evidently, no such documentation exists.
As can be readily seen in the pages to follow, substantial opposition by credible scientists to the use of random source animals has a long and distinguished tradition of its own. In essence, the critique states that the genetic, medical and environmental histories of laboratory animals are extremely important factors in how they will respond to experimental or testing procedures. Thus, unnecessary and often costly problems are created when animals of unknown, uncontrollable, and highly variable random source backgrounds are used in the laboratory.
The Humane Society of the United States, "The Scientific Disadvantages of Using Random Source Animals for Research and Testing" (1987). Annotated Bibliographies. 1.