Report Animal Concerns

Guidance and Best Practices for Safeguarding the U-M Animal Care & Use Community

Facilities Safety

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As members of the U-M animal care and use community, we have an inherent understanding of – and appreciation for – the many critical contributions that animals have made to the advancement of science. While our daily activities regularly include caring for laboratory animals, it can be easy to forget that this work is still a very complex and sensitive topic for individuals outside of biomedical research. 

To help safeguard and promote the responsible use of animals in research at the U-M, our Program has partnered with cross-campus collaborators to develop guidance and best practices on a wide variety of issues ranging from simple media inquiries to possible threats to health and safety.

Review the following to ensure that you are familiar with the tools and resources available to the U-M research community:

Our Program works closely with U-M’s Department of Public Safety & Security (DPSS) to regularly assess security settings in and around all animal care facilities to maintain a safe and secure environment for research personnel as well as the animals entrusted to our care.

In general, access to animal housing areas and training sessions involving animals is limited to individuals affiliated with the university who have a specific business/educational purpose for being there.

Visits to any area where animals may be present should be planned well in advance and approved by the appropriate University entities. Visitors must be accompanied by a credentialed U-M employee throughout the visit and should adhere to all instructions on posted signage, including proper donning of required Personal Protective Equipment.

As many individuals leave campus for the University’s holiday and season days, be especially mindful of the following:

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  • Close and lock all doors and windows
  • Secure valuables and lock desks and closets
  • Ensure the safe shutdown of labs that will not be operating (cap chemicals, shut down equipment, close fume hood sashes)
  • Never prop open doors
  • Watch for individuals who may try to “tailgate” through doorways to gain access to secure facilities
  • Know how to contact veterinary care staff after hours and on weekends and holidays for animals needing immediate care
  • Always remain vigilant and report any suspicious behavior

If you ever suspect that someone has gained improper access to an area where animals are present, or to the offices of faculty/staff involved in animal care and use, please contact DPSS at (734) 763-1131.

Working with the Michigan Medicine Department of Communication, our Program has developed guidance on creating content (stories, images, videos, social media posts) about research involving animals.

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This guidance can be found on the Animal Care & Use (ACU) Program’s FAQs webpage as well as the Michigan Medicine Department of Communication’s Branding Guidelines website.

To help minimize the risk of potential negative attention, researchers are strongly encouraged to consult and partner with both the ACU Program and the communicators who cover their department/division/center on any aspect of communication regarding animals.

Responding to Media Inquiries

If you receive a media inquiry about your research and/or your work with animals, you are strongly encouraged to contact your respective communications office PRIOR TO responding.

It may be appropriate for a representative from either Michigan Medicine or Public Affairs to speak to the media on your behalf. Or, if you are to serve as a spokesperson, you may be more comfortable receiving some tips and tricks for talking with the media.

  • If you are part of Michigan Medicine, please contact the Department of Communication at (734) 764-2220 or DeptComm-PR-Team@med.umich.edu.
  • If you are not part of Michigan Medicine (e.g., any central campus school/college/unit), please contact the U-M Office of Public Affairs at (734) 936-5190 or public.affairs@umich.edu.

General questions or concerns with non-urgent deadlines may also be directed to acu-media@umich.edu.

Finally, we want to remind you of the myriad tools and resources that our Program has developed to help answer many common questions about the use of animals in research. Much of this information – FAQs, institutional statements, details about accreditation and programmatic oversight processes – is available on our website at animalcare.umich.edu/program-faqs.

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We also routinely feature stories about U-M research breakthroughs that have benefitted from animal contributions at animalcare.umich.edu/our-impact.

Questions?

If you have any additional questions about a subject not referenced above, or if you are ever in doubt about sensitive topics that may involve the use of animals in research or instruction, please reach out to us at acu-communications@umich.edu.

Remember, we are here to serve as advocates for your research and for the responsible care and use of animals at the University of Michigan.

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