The Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC) ensures that the highest animal welfare standards are maintained along with the conduct of accurate, valid scientific research through the supervision, coordination, training, guidance, and review of every project proposed to include the use of vertebrate animals at the University of Michigan.
Well-established procedures, similar to those used to monitor human subjects research, are used for reviewing and monitoring animal research, teaching, and testing projects conducted under University auspices.
The IACUC, along with veterinary staff specializing in laboratory animal medicine, carefully review the goals, objectives, and scientific benefits of all proposed projects to ensure that:
The project has appropriate merit,
The proposed research complies with all applicable federal, state, and University laws, regulations,
Humane use guidelines are followed and all animals involved are provided with the best possible treatment and professional veterinary care,
Those who will be working with the animals have received the proper training, and
Proper practices and procedures are in place to reduce as much pain and/or distress to the animals as possible.
The IACUC is ultimately responsible for approving, requiring modification of, or prohibiting the use of vertebrate animals in research, teaching, or testing activities. In addition to reviewing and approving animal use applications and protocol modifications, the IACUC also approves changes to the University’s policies governing animal care and use, and conducts announced and unannounced inspections of animal care and use locations.
At the University of Michigan, the IACUC is appointed by the Vice President for Research, who also serves as the Institutional Official ultimately responsible for animal care and use, a duty delegated by the President of the University. The Committee consists of members who serve rotating terms and includes scientists, non-scientists, veterinarians, and members of the general public who help advise the Vice President for Research on U-M’s Animal Care & Use Program.
In its advisory role, the IACUC ensures that U-M’s Animal Care & Use Program continues to operate within the policies, standards, and guidelines set by the University, the State of Michigan, and the United States Government, which require a review of animal activities to ensure the humane treatment and judicious use of vertebrate animals. A brief summary of the federal standards governing the use of vertebrate animals in research, teaching, or testing activities are outlined below:
- Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW):
The Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare is a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the regulating body for all activities funded by the federal government, including the NIH and NSF. OLAW's primary standards are the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (PHS Policy), and the Guide for the Care and Use of Animals (Guide).
- United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, APHIS, oversees activities involving the use of vertebrate animals at government registered research institutions. The USDA receives its authority through federal law (Code of Federal Regulations, Title 7 and 9). Veterinary Medical Officers enforcing the 7 and 9 CFRs inspect research organizations at least annually.
- Specific funding sources, such as the Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and foundations, may require additional rules and regulations. Institutions receiving money from these organizations are responsible for following any other requirements for the humane care and treatment of any vertebrate animal used in field or laboratory research and educational training.
If you would like to know more about how U-M’s Animal Care & Use Program is accredited, please visit our Accreditation page.
References and Resources
- USDA Animal Welfare Act and Animal Welfare Regulations
- U-M Charge to the Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee
- U-M Policy on Investigating Noncompliance and Animal Welfare Concerns
- Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals
- Guide for the Care & Use of Laboratory Animals