IACUC Policy: Institutional Animal Care and Use Program    
Policy # IBT-102.03 IACUC Approval: October 23, 2017

 

Purpose: 

To clearly defined roles within the program that align responsibility with regulatory and management authority. 

Scope: 

This procedure applies to the animal care and use program at Texas A&M University Houston/Kingsville campuses. 

Responsibilities: 

It is an institutional responsibility to establish and provide sufficient resources to maintain an animal care and use program. 

The Institutional Official (IO) bears the ultimate responsibility for the Animal Care and Use Program. 

The Attending Veterinarian (AV) is responsible for the health and well-being of all laboratory animals used at the institution. 

The institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) is responsible for assessment and oversight of the institution’s program components and facilities. 

I. Program Management 

US federal law creates a statutory basis for the institutional official, the attending veterinarian, and the institutional animal care and use committee. The primary oversight responsibilities in the Program rest with the IO, the AV, and the IACUC. Their roles fit in an organizational structure defined below: 

a) Institutional Official:
i. Bears the ultimate responsibility for the Animal care and use program. 
ii. Has the authority to allocate resources needed to ensure the program’s overall effectiveness, and allocates those resources based on recommendations and advice from the IACUC, the veterinarian, and the IACUC professional staff. 
iii. Appoints IACUC members as delegated by the CEO or equivalent in writing. 
iv. Ensures the program has a qualified attending veterinarian. 
v. Clearly define and assign responsibilities and reporting channels for other essential program elements such as personnel training, occupational health and safety, and maintenance of facilities. 

b) Attending Veterinarian:
i. Has direct or delegated program authority for activities involving animals at the institution. 
ii. Provide expertise on matters of animal health and welfare, including, but not limited to: use of proper anesthesia and analgesia in laboratory animals in the relief of pain and distress; discussion of the possible complications related to procedures used or a disease model proposed; provide a review of the plans for appropriate and timely medical intervention. 
iii. Provide consultation to investigators on design and implementation of study proposals. 

c) Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee: 
i. Semi-annually review the entire animal program, inspect facilities, and provide a report of the findings to the IO. 
ii. Review concerns involving animals at the institution. 
iii. Make recommendations to the IO regarding any aspect of the animals program, facilities, or personnel training. 
iv. Has the authority to grant approval and/or suspend animal use at the institution. 
v. Meet as often as necessary to fulfill its responsibilities, and records of the committee meetings and results of deliberations are maintained (Guide, 2011). 
vi. Serve as facilitator, interacting with various programs, committees, and individuals to ensure the existence of a comprehensive occupational health and safety program and compliance with the Guide.
vii. Provide training for researchers and their staff, assist researchers with meeting the expectations of the IACUC, and facilitate interactions with regulatory agencies. 
viii. Represent society's concerns regarding the welfare of animal subjects use. 
ix. Keep abreast of changes in animal use legislation and guidelines. 

II. IACUC Composition 
Committee membership includes the following: 
a) IACUC Chairperson: The chairperson needs to be knowledgeable and effective as a leader. This individual needs to have the full support of the Institutional Officer and sufficient stature to perform the functions of the positions without jeopardy to career or position. The chairperson plays an active role in the oversight of all IACUC activities. 
b) Veterinarian: A veterinarian with direct or delegated program responsibility to the IACUC. The veterinarian with program responsibility must have training or experience in laboratory animal science and medicine or in the care of the species being used. 
c) Non-Affiliated Member: Someone who is not affiliated with The Texas A&M University System in any manner, intended to represent the general community interests in the proper care and treatment of animals. The nonaffiliated member must not be
   a. a laboratory animal user or former user, 
   b. immediately affiliated with the institution, or 
   c. an immediate family member of an individual affiliated with the institution. Immediate family includes    parent, spouse, child, and sibling. 
In evaluating the qualifications of an individual to serve as a nonaffiliated member, the CEO should confirm the appointee has no discernible ties or ongoing affiliation with the institution. Regarding service of former employees or students as nonaffiliated members, the appointing official must be assured that the person is not in any way obligated to the institution. Real or perceived conflicts of interest must be avoided to ensure the IACUC's and the institution's integrity. 
d) Non-Scientist: A person whose primary concern is in a non-scientific area having no obvious connections to any area of science. It is recommended to appoint members with a naïve attitude with regard to science and scientific activities. The person should not have scientific training. 
e) Scientist: A practicing scientist knowledgeable about the types of research and teaching being reviewed and conducted; at least one with laboratory animal experience. No more than three scientists from one department/administrative unit should be on the IACUC. 

References: 

1. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA. US Animal Welfare Act (AWA 1990) and Regulations (PL-89-544, as amended, 7USC Ch. 54) 2008. CFR Title 9, Subchapter A - Animal Welfare. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 
2. National Research Council. Institute for Laboratory Animal Research. 2011. Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Public Health Service, Bethesda, MD. 
3. Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/references/phspol.htm. 
4. Silverman, Jerald, et.al. 2000. The IACUC Handbook: The Basic Unit of an Effective Animal Care and Use Program. Baltimore, MD. 
5. ARENA/OLAW Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee Guidebook, 2nd Ed. 2002. 
6. OLAW NOT-OD-15-109: Guidance on Qualifications of IACUC Nonscientific and Nonaffiliated Members, June 9, 2015.

 

History: 

Version 00 – Initial approval: January 27, 2014 
Version 01 – Approval: August 24, 2015 
Version 02 – Approval: September 26, 2016 
Version 03 – Approval: October 23, 2017