On Tuesday, February 6, our Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC) began its Winter 2018 round of semi-annual facility inspections. Inspections will run through the end of March and include any animal rooms, surgical suite support spaces, and areas where procedures are conducted on animals.
Although the semi-annual inspection process is used by the IACUC to ensure that U-M continues to operate within the policies, standards, and guidelines that govern animal care and use, we also use this as an opportunity to assess the strengths and areas for continued improvement in our Animal Care & Use Program.
Through the lens of this shared commitment to the responsible conduct of research in all aspects of our work, we encourage you to:
If you have not already done so, please take a moment to review findings from the last round of inspections and discuss the results with your colleagues. Consistent with past and recurring trends, Occupational Health and Safety continues to be an area of concern throughout our Program and the University as a whole.
Laboratory and occupational health/safety plans play a critical role in the development and sustainability of a strong Animal Care & Use Program. To help establish clear expectations for personnel who use hazardous materials and/or handle animals, the IACUC approved the following policies in April 2017:
- Personal Protective Equipment While Conducting Animal Activities
- The Use of Hazardous Materials in Animal Activities
- Personal Hygiene Requirements When Conducting Animal Activities
These policies apply to all individuals involved in animal care and use, and should be reviewed by every member of your laboratory staff. Intended to protect and safeguard the well-being of all research personnel and the animals under their care, these policies were created in collaboration with Environment, Health & Safety (EHS), and detail mandatory requirements based on the associated risk level(s) of the work being conducted.
Due to the serious consequences that may result from a failure to follow the appropriate procedures pertaining to laboratory and animal safety, especially those issues identified by the policies above, all issues of non-compliance will be subject to review and possible IACUC action based on the processes outlined in the Policy on Investigating Noncompliance and Animal Welfare Concerns.
Download the recently updated Are You Inspection Ready? Checklist and use it as a self-evaluation tool to help your lab prepare for its upcoming inspection. In addition to highlighting recurring deficiency trends, the checklist also includes space for you to designate the individuals responsible for specific inspection areas and associated tasks.
Finally, we want to acknowledge that these inspections, and adherence to policies and guidelines governing animal care and use may, at times, seem cumbersome. While we will continue to explore meaningful ways to reduce administrative burden, it is important that we maintain a system of regular Program-wide assessment(s).
Semi-annual inspections are one of the most important tools we have to evaluate, assess, and ensure the humane treatment and judicious use of animals here at the University of Michigan. As your partners and colleagues in the conduct of responsible research to benefit both human and animal health, we thank you for your active participation in this process and for your commitment to continually strengthen our Program.
Daniel D. Myers, DVM, MPH, DACLAM
Chair, Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee
Associate Professor of Surgery
William Greer, BS, CPIA, LAT, CM
Assistant Vice President – Animal Program Compliance Oversight
Director, Animal Care & Use Office