The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is required by federal regulation and is intended to ensure appropriate housing, care, and humane treatment of animals used in research or other academic activities. This committee formally approves the maintenance of all such animals for research projects and also reviews any use of laboratory animals on campus and animal field studies research performed by University researchers.
RAO supports this committee and maintains the university's "Assurance" status with federal agencies. The "Assurance" document is actually a way of accrediting BYU to maintain and work with laboratory animals.
Function of the IACUC
The IACUC reviews all research and teaching protocols that involve live vertebrate animals. These studies must have IACUC approval before the can begin.
The IACUC has authority to amend, disapprove, suspend, and terminate studies that fail to meet the requirements established by the university and federal regulations. The IACUC is also responsible to do the following:
- Recommend policies, guidelines, and SOPs to be used in research and instruction that involves vertebrate animals
- Provide informational resources to investigators and students that may help them in their research or teaching that involves animals
- Approve animal facilities and inspect condition of animal facilities (including lab space) at least every 6 months
- Evaluate the university’s animal care and use program every 6 months and make recommendations for improvement of the program
- Monitor the training of researchers, animal care staff, and IACUC members, in accordance with federal regulations and BYU policies
- Review applications for the use of live, vertebrate animals to be used for research or instruction
- Investigate reports related to misuse of animals used in research and instruction
- Prepare and submit reports, as needed, to university officials (RAO and IO) and regulatory entities (OLAW and USDA)
Composition of the IACUC
OLAW requires the IACUC to have at least five members and include the following:
- 1 veterinarian with training or experience in laboratory animal science and medicine, who has direct or delegated authority and responsibility for activities involving animals at the institution;
- 1 practicing scientist experienced in research with animals;
- 1 member whose primary concerns are in a nonscientific area (e.g., ethicist, lawyer, member of the clergy); and
- 1 member who is not affiliated with the institution other than as a member of the IACUC.
Members are appointed by the university president, based on recommendation by the AAVP, and are asked to serve for a term of at least 3 years.
IACUC Policy Summary
If your research or class involves animals, please note the following:
- All researchers must submit an animal use protocol and receive approval from IACUC prior to beginning a research project or ordering and/or obtaining animals.
- Researchers must make sure all animal activities being performed are stated in their approved protocol(s).
- If changes need to be made to an approved protocol, an amendment must be submitted to IACUC prior to instituting the change.
- All personnel (faculty members, graduate students, undergraduate students, etc.) working on the project must be listed in the protocol and must receive appropriate training prior to working on the project. When new personnel join a protocol, which has been previously approved, their names and documentation of their training in animal use must be submitted to IACUC before they can begin work.
- All animals must be observed daily by someone in the research group to make sure they have water, food, dry bedding, and that they are in good health and free of any other problems (i.e., unapproved research sequelea; overcrowding; aggressive cage mates; tight leg bands; toes, fingers or wings caught in caging, etc.).
- All animals must be maintained according to the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals(NIH publication, revised 2011; copies are available in the IACUC administrative office, A-285 ASB) and BYU IACUC policies. A sanitation sheet is available for all those who are involved in the maintenance of the physical environment of the animals.
If you have any questions regarding the care and use of your animals, be sure to ask the University Veterinarian for clarification. All researchers will be held responsible for complying with all federal and institutional regulations.