Writing a research paper on animals offers a wealth of options, as more than 62,000 species of vertebrate animals are known -- which includes mammals, birds, fishes, reptiles and amphibians. More than 1.3 million invertebrate animal species are known, including insects, spiders and scorpions, crustaceans, coral and mollusks. You can write an informative paper on animals, designed to persuade the reader toward one position or another, or you can discuss a personal interest related to animals.

Rain Forests

The rainforest in Guatemala.
The rainforest in Guatemala.

Research paper topics can provide a wide range of information about rain forests. Rain forests cover only 6 percent of the Earth's surface, yet 50 percent of the world's animals live in them, which includes some 30 million animal and plant species that live in tropical rainforests. Topics can include research into the many animals that are either threatened or endangered due to deforestation. Research paper topics can also provide information about the types of animals living in the rain forest. This includes the okapi, mandrills, the colobus monkey, gorillas, the drill and chimpanzees.

Ethical Treatment of Animals

Dairy cows in a green pasture.
Dairy cows in a green pasture.

The ethical treatment of animals in research can explore the defense or criticism of animal testing. An informative research paper topic can include a history of animal regulation for research animals, or the principles of protection of animal subjects. Research can look into the minimization of pain and suffering, species-appropriate housing and care, the need for veterinary personnel, as well as the qualifications of investigators. Further ethical research topics can include legal and regulatory framework, such as a discussion on the introduction of the Animal Welfare Act of 1985.

Service Animals

Close-up of service dog.
Close-up of service dog.

The benefit of animals -- especially dogs, as service animals for people -- is a growing movement. Research topics can include animal-assisted therapy and their benefit in settings such as nursing homes, hospitals, schools and prisons. Another topic can explore the psychology and history of the human-animal bond through domestication, farming and as pets for companionship. Research topics can also include canine and feline behavior that focuses on the causes of stress and aggression, as well as on mating systems and how behavior is shaped.

Animal Law

Woman and her German Shepherd outside.
Woman and her German Shepherd outside.

Topics on animal law can provide research on animals and who would be expected to represent the interests of animals. Research can include animal rescue, such as with natural disasters like a hurricane, when families must abandon their pets. Other topics can discuss what happens to pets when an owner dies, under what conditions animal-welfare organizations can rescue pets from neglectful owners and how experts define animal cruelty. Research into an evaluation of the broader public policy toward pets can discuss how to manage the relationship between people and animals within a community.