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Information for Principal Investigators

Requirements for Using Animals at AU

Prior to working on an Animal Study Proposal, investigators and animal users must fulfill several training, safety, and regulatory requirements. Some of these requirements are described below. For answers to questions not answered below please contact the IACUC office (Research Compliance Office) at 202-885-3447.

Training in the Humane Care and Use of Animals

AU's Animal Care and Use Program requires that all personnel who work with animals must be properly trained to perform their research and teaching activities. It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator to ensure that appropriate training has been received. For more information regarding training opportunities see the training page.

Regulatory Authorities

The care and use of animals in research, teaching and testing is highly regulated. Persons conducting studies that utilize animals have a responsibility and moral obligation to follow these regulations and guidelines to ensure the most humane care and use of these animals. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates all warm-blooded animals, except rats, mice and birds, used in biomedical research, exhibition, and teaching, as well as dog and cat breeders through a set of laws known as the Animal Welfare Act. The law establishes that the USDA write regulations covering the care and use of animals in research and teaching. These are the Animal Welfare Regulations (9CFR Chapter 1). The United States Public Health Service (PHS) regulates all vertebrates used in research, testing and training in projects that receive funding from that agency. This includes grants received through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as well as others. The Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals uses a general set of guidelines known as the US Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals Used in Testing, Research, and Training to form the framework for PHS regulations. More specific guidelines are detailed in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (commonly referred to as "The Guide").

Other agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency, regulate certain specific activities and animal usage.

Animal Study Proposal Submission

All principal investigators planning to conduct animal research at AU must first submit a Protocol for use of Live Vertebrates for Research, Teaching, or Demonstration. Student investigators may submit a protocol, but only with the endorsement of a trained faculty supervisor.

Completed protocols submitted by authorized researchers are sent to the IACUC for review. The IACUC has one week to determine if the protocol may be reviewed by a designated review including the attending veterinarian, or any IACUC member may request that the protocol be reviewed by full committee. The committee meets on a monthly basis. The Research Compliance Office will keep you informed of the protocol's status, but you should have initial information within two weeks of submission.

Procurement of Animals at AU

Animal Ordering Procedures: Investigators must have an approved IACUC Protocol before animals can be ordered. Only approved pathogen free sources can be used. Contact the facility manager for details.

Occupational Health and Safety

Personnel must be protected from risks associated with the exposure to and use of animals in research and teaching. Animals, infectious agents harbored by the animal, mechanical and physical agents used in the study may present hazards. Before working with animals, personnel must receive clearance from an occupational health provider. More details can be found at the Occupational Health Safety Page.