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Policy: Oversight of Investigator-Maintained Animal Colonies (IACUC)

Policy: Oversight of Investigator-Maintained Animal Colonies (IACUC)

Policy

Principal investigators (PIs) who are approved by the IACUC to provide care (husbandry, sanitation, and/or daily monitoring) to animals assigned to an animal use protocol are subject to routine oversight by the Division of Animal Resources (DAR). This policy does not apply to agricultural animals housed at the U of I livestock and poultry research units.

Background

Federal regulations specify that animal care must be provided by qualified personnel and that the attending veterinarian must have the authority to ensure adequate veterinary care and oversee all aspects of animal care and use. In some cases, groups of vertebrate animals, including fish and amphibians, whether housed in conventional animal facilities, laboratories, or satellite facilities, are maintained by research staff. To insure consistency and documentation of care, the University of Illinois Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) has implemented a policy that requires professional animal care staff to oversee all animal care on campus, even when care is provide in facilities outside centrally managed facilities.

Procedures

Animal Care Provided by Investigators
Animal care must be consistent with that provided by professional animal care staff and must meet requirements described in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Guide), Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching (Ag Guide) and the Animal Welfare Regulations (AWR). Written descriptions of care must include daily observation of all animals; methods and frequencies for providing feed, water, and clean bedding; cage, tank, housing accessories and room sanitation methods and frequency; and the names and qualifications of individuals providing care.

Daily observation of animals; monitoring of relevant environmental parameters such as room or water temperatures; feeding and watering; and sanitation must be documented and posted near animal enclosures. This may be a checklist or log with space provided for care providers to initial completed tasks each day.

Logs should also include information on receipt of new animals; daily census; and removal of animals due to experimental use, transfer to another protocol or site, or unanticipated death. The PI is responsible for immediate notification of veterinary staff of health problems. The PI is also responsible for giving unrestricted access to the facility for DAR veterinary and professional animal care staff for areas located outside of centralized animal facilities.

Responsibilities

Role of the Investigator
PIs who intend to care for their own animals must justify this in the animal use protocol and provide the IACUC with a written description of the care to be provided.

Role of the Division of Animal Resources (DAR)
The DAR is responsible for overseeing animal care in all non-agricultural animal holding areas. The animal care staff visits each on-campus animal holding area at least once each week to ensure that the care provided is in accordance with written husbandry procedures. Veterinary professional staff visit on-campus satellite holding facilities at least every other month.

Animal care staff and veterinary staff report failures to comply with written procedures to the PI. The attending veterinarian determines, after consultation with the PI, when repeated failure to provide or document adequate care requires increased oversight by the animal care staff. Monitoring of off-campus sites is at the discretion of the attending veterinarian.

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) Oversight
The IACUC visits all animal holding rooms at least twice a year and prior to allowing housing of animals in an area not previously approved for that purpose. During visits, the IACUC may request records of animal husbandry and veterinary care, including animal medical records. The IACUC may request additional oversight or direct care by professional staff when needed to ensure adequate care.

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Approved: 3/6/2001
Revision approved: 3/1/2011
Updated: 7/9/2013

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