1. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee
1.1 Animal care and use at the University
Ensuring that animals are used appropriately and cared for humanely is a
responsibility borne by both the scientific community and society at large.
There are good reasons to use animals in research and in other projects,
but our respect for life and our duty not to cause unnecessary harm place
constraints on those activities.
Upholding the University's responsibility toward its animals is the charge
of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), as specified
by The Regents'
policy on Animal Care and Usage. The IACUC oversees all of the University's
programs and facilities that either house or use animals. Its primary task
is to review proposals for projects that use animals to ensure that those
projects fulfill two general criteria: they must be justified by their societal
benefits; and they must treat animals humanely. The scope of the IACUC's
responsibility for review covers all animal use at all University campuses.
The IACUC also regularly inspects each project and facility that uses animals,
reevaluates the University's overall animal care and use program, and helps
University departments develop and deliver training and educational programs
to the research community and the public on animal care and use. It carries
out these tasks in concert with the University's Research
Animal Resources, which is responsible for the acquisition, daily care,
and veterinary care of all laboratory animals on the Twin Cities campus.
1.2 The federal basis
At the heart of the federal requirements is the Public
Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals in
testing, research, and training. This policy provides the core of the operational
guidelines for the University of Minnesota Institutional Animal Care and
In addition, the University's policies on animal use adhere to the federal
requirements of the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. 2131 et. seq.), the United
States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural
Animals, and the National Research Council's Guide for the Care and Use
of Laboratory Animals.
The federal regulations are administered by the USDA and the National Institutes
of Health's Office
for Lab Animal Welfare (OLAW). The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service enforces the Animal Welfare Act Regulations primarily by inspecting animal care
and use facilities. The OLAW
administers and coordinates the Public Health Service Policy primarily by
requiring institutions that operate animal care and use facilities to adhere
to "assurance" documents. The University of Minnesota's assurance identifies
the University's responsibilities and explains what the University does
to meet the federal regulations for animal care and use. The Institutional
Official for Animal Care and Use, through the IACUC and Research
Animal Resources ensure that the assurance is upheld.
1.3 Organization of the committee
The IACUC's ability to evaluate the institutional care and use of animals
depends on the diverse backgrounds of its members. The committee includes
representatives from units that use animals for research, teaching, or service,
from the Department of Environmental Health and Safety, from Research
Animal Resources, and from the community outside the University. Several
members have experience in laboratory animal science and are responsible
for activities in which animals are used; at least one member comes from
outside the scientific community. One member may be a University student.
Federal regulations require that the IACUC have at least five members, although
it typically has more in order to provide a suitable breadth of expertise.
1.4 The IACUC Office
The IACUC Office staff provides administrative, educational, and compliance
support to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. The IACUC Office is a unit of the Office of the Vice President for Research.
Next Section: 2. What is subject to review