- 1.0 Purpose and Scope of Manual
- 1.1 Mission Statement
- 1.2 Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW)
- 1.3 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- 1.4 Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, International (AAALAC
It is the responsibility of The University of Texas at Austin (University) to provide suitable orientation, appropriate materials, adequate resources and training to enable research faculty and staff and IACUC members to carry out their respective duties consistent with the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (the Guide), the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (PHS Policy) and the Animal Welfare Act and Animal Welfare Regulations (AWRs).
Local institutional policies and procedures need to be a part of the training and education program. Frequently, researchers and IACUC members find it confusing to understand the differences between the federal policies and requirements and institutional policies and procedures. The Institution is responsible for informing researchers and IACUC members of their responsibilities, providing training relative to their respective roles, and ensuring information to fulfill their duties is available.
The University of Texas at Austin (University) recognizes the importance of animals in research and the scientific and ethical responsibility for their humane care and use. All those involved with the use of laboratory animals are responsible for insuring the health and well-being of the animals used in research and education at the University. The IACUC is responsible for overseeing the provisions for the care and well-being of animals used for research and educational purposes at the University and serves the public by ensuring compliance with all legal and ethical standards regarding the use of vertebrate animals in research and teaching at the University.
The Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) implements PHS Policy. While OLAW is located organizationally at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, OLAW’s responsibility for laboratory animal welfare extends beyond NIH to all PHS-supported activities involving animals. From time to time, OLAW issues policy guidance, interpretation, or general notices regarding PHS Policy, and co-sponsors animal welfare workshops that are held in different locations across the country.
Specific OLAW responsibilities include:
- Implementation of the PHS Policy;
- Interpretation of the PHS Policy;
- Negotiation of Animal Welfare Assurances;
- Evaluation of compliance with the PHS Policy; and
- Education of institutions and investigators receiving PHS support.
Before the PHS may award a grant or contract that involves the use of animals, the recipient institution and all performance sites involving or using animals must have on file with OLAW an approved Animal Welfare Assurance (Assurance). The Assurance is the cornerstone of a trust relationship between the institution and the PHS. Included in the Assurance are:
- The designation of the Institutional Official responsible for compliance;
- A commitment that the institution will comply with the PHS Policy, with the Guide, and with the AWA and the Animal Welfare Regulations; and
- A description of the institution's program for animal care and use.
The PHS Policy applies to the use of live, vertebrate animals in any activity supported or conducted by the Public Health Service (PHS). PHS agencies include:
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality;
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry;
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
- Food and Drug Administration;
- Health Resources and Services Administration;
- Indian Health Service;
- National Institutes of Health;
- Office of Public Health and Safety;
- Office of the Secretary;
- Program Support Center;
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; and
- Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.
The University of Texas at Austin has an Animal Welfare Assurance on file with OLAW. The Animal Welfare Assurance number is A4107-01.
In 1966, Congress passed the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act (PL 89-544) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) was named the responsible agency for the enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to protect certain animals from inhumane treatment and neglect. Congress passed the AWA in 1966 and strengthened the law through amendments in 1970, 1976, 1985, and 1990. The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) administers the AWA, its standards, and its regulations.
The University of Texas at Austin is a registered Class R Research Facility with the USDA (customer number 1453 under certificate number 74-R-0029).
The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) requires that minimum standards of care and treatment be provided for certain animals bred for commercial sale, used in research, transported commercially, or exhibited to the public. Individuals who operate facilities in these categories must provide their animals with adequate care and treatment in the areas of housing, handling, sanitation, nutrition, water, veterinary care, and protection from extreme weather and temperatures. Although Federal requirements establish acceptable standards, they are not ideal. Regulated businesses are encouraged to exceed the specified minimum standards.
The AWA (Title 7, Chapter 54, Section 2132(g)) defines the term “animal” to mean any live or dead dog, cat, monkey (nonhuman primate mammal), guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, or such other warm-blooded animal that is being used, or is intended for use, for research, testing, experimentation, or exhibition purposes, or as a pet. With respect to a dog, the term means all dogs including those used for hunting, security, or breeding purposes.
Animal shelters and pounds are regulated if they sell dogs or cats to dealers.
The AWA (Title 7, Chapter 54, Section 2132(g)) excludes birds, rats of the genus Rattus, and mice of the genus Mus, bred for use in research, horses not used for research purposes, and other farm animals, such as, but not limited to livestock or poultry, used or intended for use as food or fiber, or livestock or poultry, used or intended for use for improving animal nutrition, breeding, management, or production efficiency, or for improving the quality of food or fiber.
Retail pet shops are not covered under the Act unless the shop sells exotic or zoo animals or sells animals to regulated businesses. Pets owned by private citizens are not regulated.
In addition to providing the required standards of veterinary care and animal husbandry, regulated research facilities must provide dogs with the opportunity for exercise and promote the psychological well-being of primates used in laboratories. Researchers must also give regulated animals anesthesia or pain-relieving medication to minimize the pain or distress caused by research if the experiment allows. The AWA also forbids the unnecessary duplication of a specific experiment using regulated animals.
Research facilities must establish an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) to oversee the use of animals in experiments. The IACUC is responsible for ensuring that the facility remains in compliance with the AWA and for providing documentation of all areas of compliance to the USDA/APHIS. The AWA also does not permit APHIS to interfere with research procedures or experimentation. To ensure that all licensed and registered facilities continue to comply with the AWA, APHIS inspectors make unannounced inspections at least once annually.
If an inspection reveals deficiencies in meeting the AWA standards and regulations, the inspector instructs the facility to correct the problems within a given timeframe. If deficiencies remain uncorrected at the unannounced follow-up inspection, APHIS documents the facility's deficiencies and considers possible legal action.
APHIS also conducts reviews and investigates alleged violations. Some cases are resolved with Official Notices of Warning or agency stipulation letters, which set civil penalties for the infractions. Civil penalties include cease-and-desist orders, fines, and license suspensions or revocations. If APHIS officials determine that an alleged AWA violation warrants additional action, APHIS submits all evidence to the USDA for further legal review.
In addition to conducting regular inspections, APHIS will perform inspections in response to public input about the conditions of regulated facilities. Concerned individuals also are encouraged to inform APHIS about facilities that should be licensed or registered.
The Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, International (AAALAC) is a private, nonprofit organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals in science through voluntary accreditation and assessment programs.
The University voluntarily participates in AAALAC’s program, in addition to complying with the local, state and federal laws that regulate animal research. Participating institutions receive an independent, unbiased expert assessment, and those that meet or exceed applicable standards are awarded accreditation.
Institutions choose to participate in the AAALAC accreditation program for a variety of reasons. Some use accreditation as a symbol of quality—it shows that an institution is serious about setting, achieving and maintaining high standards for animal research programs. AAALAC accreditation also promotes scientific validity—when research involves animals, reliable results depend on healthy animals and superior animal care. And perhaps most importantly, accreditation demonstrates a willingness to go above and beyond the minimums required by law, and assures the public that the institution is committed to the responsible use and treatment of animals in science.
The University of Texas at Austin is an AAALAC International Accredited institution since October 29, 2001. AAALAC International has continued full accreditation for all programs and facilities of The University of Texas at Austin under file number 000988.