The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is a group that oversees the welfare of research animals in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and Public Health Service (PHS) Policy on Human Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (nabr.org). Click here for more information about IACUC.
To conduct research or classroom activities involving vertebrate animals at EWU, a Protocol Review Form (PRF) must be completed, submitted, and approved by the IACUC before starting the project. Once approved, protocols are valid for three years from the date of approval.
PRFs are to be submitted to the IACUC by the faculty member who is responsible for student research/classroom projects. Email completed PRFs to David Daberkow (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Charlene Alspach (email@example.com). Subsequently, an e-mail reply will be sent when the PRF is submitted to the committee for review (usually within 1-3 days).
The current protocol review process is first-come first-served and may take up to 4 weeks. Review is conducted using the Comments feature in Word and circulated via e-mail.
Resubmit the approved PRF with amendments for review (change the number or kind of animals used, change procedures, etc.) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All personnel conducting federally supported research involving animals are required to complete the training offered through CITI Program.
Please check with the IACUC chair or with your faculty advisor regarding department or institutional requirements for animal care and use training. Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Program training is available:
Research students and teaching assistants:
Students participating in research projects must complete training modules on the IACUC CANVAS site. Note the specific modules reviewed on your PRF (under section X., Training and Experience). The five modules are also below:
All projects using rats, mice, or other mammals or birds at EWU must be approved by the EWU Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) before they may begin. This is required by federal law.
To obtain IACUC approval, complete and submit an IACUC Protocol Review Form. Fill out the form completely, making sure it will be clear to the committee members who evaluate it. Your faculty supervisor should review your application before you submit it. Get signatures from your faculty supervisor and the department chair. Submit the form electronically, and submit a paper copy of the form with the signatures, as instructed on the first page of the form.
The IACUC usually completes its evaluation within 10 days. IACUC approval occurs more rapidly when the application is accurate, complete, and clear; the IACUC may require changes and delay approval if important information is missing or inappropriate procedures are proposed.
Your project must be performed as described in your IACUC Protocol Review Form. Any changes to your procedures must be approved by the IACUC before they are implemented. To obtain approval for changes, complete and submit a Change to Protocol Review Form here.
When you are planning your project, you need to make sure that the EWU animal facility has the type and number of animals that you need. Either you or your faculty supervisor should talk with the animal caretaker about this.
Before starting your project you must get an access code for the animal facility from the Science Instructional Technician. You are allowed to be in the animal facility on weekdays between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. If you need to be in the facility outside these times you must make arrangements with the Science Instructional Technician and the EWU Police.
At least two working days before you plan to start your project, meet with the animal caretaker to select the animals that will be assigned to you. The animal caretaker will show you which animal room to use.
Please do not enter animal rooms other than your own. Sensitive research could be disrupted.
Every animal cage has a cage card listing the species, gender, and date of birth. It is essential that the card remain with the animals.
If your project involves special diets or fluids, you are responsible for ensuring that your animals have enough food and water. Do not expect others to do it for you.
When you work in the animal facility please speak quietly. Loud noises, including laughter, yelling, and banging, are stressful to the animals.
Please clean up after yourselves. Be responsible for your own activities.
Notify the animal caretaker if you think any of your animals are sick or otherwise impaired, or if there is anything in the animal facility that needs attention.
Notify the animal caretaker as soon as you are finished with your project.
The PHS Policy implements nine U.S. Government Principles that are the foundation for humane care and use of laboratory animals in this country. These principles were developed by the Interagency Research Animal Committee and adopted in 1985 by the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The principles are:
I. The transportation, care, and use of animals should be in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. 2131 et. seq.) and other applicable Federal laws, guidelines, and policies.*
II. Procedures involving animals should be designed and performed with due consideration of their relevance to human or animal health, the advancement of knowledge, or the good of society.
III. The animals selected for a procedure should be of an appropriate species and quality and the minimum number required to obtain valid results. Methods such as mathematical models, computer simulation, and in vitro biological systems should be considered.
IV. Proper use of animals, including the avoidance or minimization of discomfort, distress, and pain when consistent with sound scientific practices, is imperative. Unless the contrary is established, investigators should consider that procedures that cause pain or distress in human beings may cause pain or distress in other animals.
V. Procedures with animals that may cause more than momentary or slight pain or distress should be performed with appropriate sedation, analgesia, or anesthesia. Surgical or other painful procedures should not be performed on unanesthetized animals paralyzed by chemical agents.
VI. Animals that would otherwise suffer severe or chronic pain or distress that cannot be relieved should be painlessly killed at the end of the procedure or, if appropriate, during the procedure.
VII. The living conditions of animals should be appropriate for their species and contribute to their health and comfort. Normally, the housing, feeding, and care of all animals used for biomedical purposes must be directed by a veterinarian or other scientist trained and experienced in the proper care, handling, and use of the species being maintained or studied. In any case, veterinary care shall be provided as indicated.
VIII. Investigators and other personnel shall be appropriately qualified and experienced for conducting procedures on living animals. Adequate arrangements shall be made for their in-service training, including the proper and humane care and use of laboratory animals.
IX. Where exceptions are required in relation to the provisions of these Principles, the decisions should not rest with the investigators directly concerned but should be made, with due regard to Principle II, by an appropriate review group such as an institutional animal care and use committee. Such exceptions should not be made solely for the purposes of teaching or demonstration.
*For guidance throughout these Principles, the reader is referred to the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals prepared by the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research, National Academy of Sciences.
Both the USDA (via AWA) and the PHS require educational and research organizations to have an IACUC. However, because each agency's purpose is different, the regulations are similar but not identical.
AWA Rules (USDA): Each research facility must establish at least one committee (IACUC) composed of at least three members. Of these members, one will be the chair of the IACUC, and there must be at least 2 additional members; one shall be a doctor of veterinary medicine and at least one who is not affiliated with the facility other than as a member of the IACUC. The chief executive officer of the research facility is responsible for appointing the IACUC members.
PHS Rules: If an institution has an Animal Welfare Assurance on file with the NIH Office for Protection from Research Risks (OPRR), then the institution must comply with the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (PHS Policy) regarding IACUC membership and functions. The PHS Policy specifies that an IACUC shall consist of not less than five members, and shall include at least: one Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, with training or experience in laboratory animal science and medicine, who has direct or delegated program responsibility for activities involving animals at the institution; one practicing scientist experienced in research involving animals; one member whose primary concerns are in a nonscientific area; and one individual who is not affiliated with the institution in any way other than as a member of the IACUC, and is not a member of the immediate family of a person who is affiliated with the institution (PHS Policy IV.A.3.b). In addition, institutions are reminded that in order to be consistent with the provisions of the 1996 Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, nonaffiliated members should not be laboratory animal users.
The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) governs the use of animals in research. The AWA regulates breeding, transportation, housing, enrichment, veterinary care, research protocols, and euthanasia methods. The AWA applies to all species of warm-blooded vertebrate animals used for research, testing, or teaching, except farm animals used for agricultural research.
Disasters affecting animal facilities may be of three general types: natural events (related to weather or geology), technical emergencies (such as mechanical failures or chemical spills), and civil emergencies (terrorism, vandalism). Disasters may result in an inability to maintain normal conditions in the animal facility and/or an inability of personnel to reach the animal facility, thus potentially threatening the health and welfare of animals.
The EWU animal facility has been affected by two natural disasters in the last 25 years: the eruption of Mount St Helens in 1980 and the ice storm in 1996. There have been no major technical emergencies in the current facility, and no civil emergencies. Therefore emergencies are expected to be rare, but likely, in the future.
Telephone numbers for important personnel and departments shall be posted on the animal facility bulletin board, at the EWU Police Department, the Cheney Police Department, and the Cheney Fire Department. The telephone numbers shall include those for:
EWU personnel: animal facility director, veterinarian, animal technician, student workers, IACUC chair, Department of Biology chair, and all faculty with current research or teaching projects using animals.
EWU and emergency departments: EWU Physical Plant, EWU Police Department, Cheney Police Department, Cheney Fire Department.
The animal facility director, animal technician, IACUC chair, Department of Biology chair, and Department of Biology secretary shall keep current copies of the list.
The animal facility director shall coordinate disaster responses. If this individual is not available, then the IACUC chair shall serve as coordinator. The coordinator shall determine which other people need to be called.
The remainder of the response team may include the animal technician, student workers, faculty who are members of the IACUC or who currently are using animals, and others as determined by the coordinator. The veterinarian shall be consulted if animal health appears to be threatened.
The following functions shall be maintained in all emergencies:
* Air temperature surrounding the animals shall remain between 4°C and 26°C.
* The air surrounding the animals shall be free of harmful contaminants.
* All animals shall be observed periodically, with the interval depending on conditions, but at least every 24 hr, to the extent possible.
* Animal identification must be retained.
If an emergency lasts 6 hr or more, the following functions shall be maintained:
* Air ventilation shall be available.
* All animals shall have access to a bottle of potable water.
* All animals shall have access to uncontaminated food.
If an emergency lasts 24 hr or more, the following functions shall be maintained:
* Animals' cages shall be cleaned as needed.
* Stored food shall be kept at 4°C or lower.
Preparations for Emergencies
Flashlights and extra batteries shall be located in several places within the animal facility. All staff and faculty who work in the animal facility shall know where they are located.
Large containers of potable water shall be kept in the animal facility. The quantity shall be sufficient to provide drinking water for all the animals for at least one day.
Large fans shall be stored in the animal facility to provide air circulation if ventilation is lost.
An impermeable drape shall be installed above the outside door of the animal facility. If the outside air is contaminated, the drape may be lowered over the door to reduce contamination inside the animal facility. The drape shall allow people to go through the outside door in an emergency, but people shall use the doors to the inside hallway instead unless it is absolutely necessary to open the outside door.
Important files on the animal facility computers shall be backed up regularly, and the backup discs shall be kept outside the Science Building.
Guidelines for Responding to Emergencies
PERSONNEL SHALL NOT ENTER THE ANIMAL FACILITY IF THEIR OWN HEALTH MAY BE JEOPARDIZED. HUMAN HEALTH SHALL TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER ANIMAL HEALTH.
If a disaster such as an approaching storm or volcanic ash is predicted to occur, and is expected to prevent personnel from reaching the animal facility, and if personnel have sufficient preparation time, and animals will be safest remaining in the animal facility, then personnel shall prepare the animal facility to allow the animals to survive on their own. Steps to be taken include filling all water bottles with clean water and filling all food containers.
If a disaster occurs within the animal facility, or within the Science Building, such as a fire, excess heat, or chemical spill, and the animal facility becomes a harmful environment, then the animals shall be moved to a safe location, to the extent possible. Safe locations may include hallways, research labs, or classrooms within the Science Building, other buildings on campus, buildings off campus, or the outdoors, depending on the situation. Animals shall remain in their home cages.
If personnel have limited time to move or otherwise take care of animals, and there is not time to take care of all animals, then the animals shall be helped with the following priority: 1) animals participating in grant-funded research; 2) animals participating in thesis research; 3) animals participating in other research or class projects; 4) other animals.
If animals are to remain in the animal facility without ventilation, and air contamination is not expected, then all doors within the animal facility shall remain open to improve air movement within the facility.
If animals are to remain in the animal facility without ventilation for an extended period, and the outside air is uncontaminated and cooler or the same temperature as air inside the animal facility, then the outside door may remain open and fans used to circulate the air. At least one person must remain (and be awake) in the animal facility whenever the outside door remains open.
If the animals are outdoors, even briefly, one person must remain with them at all times.
If the outside air contains harmful contaminants and the air inside the animal facility is cleaner, ventilation to the animal facility shall be shut down by contacting ... The drape shall be lowered to cover the outside door to the facility. Animal room doors shall be opened to the animal facility hallway to improve air movement within the facility.
If animals have been receiving medication to alleviate suffering, administration of the drug shall continue, to the extent possible.
Animals shall be euthanized as soon as possible if they are suffering and not expected to recover.