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Information for New Animal Users

The Top Ten Actions for New Animal Users

As new animal users, you have a responsibility to ensure that you use laboratory animals in an appropriate and ethical manner. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) office is available to all animal users who have questions regarding the proper use of laboratory animals and regulations that affect the use of laboratory animals. The IACUC wants to ensure that all animal users get the information they need.

In order to use laboratory animals here at the Health Center, all vertebrate animal users must do the following:

1. Enroll in animal training. If an individual will be using live, vertebrate animals they MUST have animal training. This is both federal law (Animal Welfare Act, HREA of 1985, PHS Policy) and institutional policy.

2. Enroll in the occupational health surveillance program. Please take the time to read the occupational health website- it provides a wealth of information from how to enroll in the program to potential risks associated with common laboratory animal species. This is both federal law (PHS Policy) and institutional policy.  In addition, new animal users must have a medical clearance from Employee Health Service (EHS).  It is your responsibility to contact EHS (x2893) and request an appointment for a medical clearance for animal users.  This is NOT the same thing as a pre-employment physical.

3. Familiarize yourself with the approved policies of the UConn Health Center IACUC. Everyone who works with animals is expected to comply with all IACUC policies. Failure to do so may lead to the revocation of your ability to use laboratory animals.

4. Familiarize yourself with the federal regulations that govern the use of vertebrate animals. All animal users, especially Principal Investigators, should be cognizant of these regulations. Ignorance of the laws governing animal use is not an excuse to not follow these laws and policies. Violation of federal laws governing the use of live vertebrate animals is reportable to the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, National Institutes of Health, and the United States Department of Agriculture, and your funding agency. It is in a Principal Investigator’s best interest not to allow this to happen.

5. Write and submit animal care and use applications prior to using animals. Federal laws are clear: all research involving the use of live vertebrate animals must be approved by an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee prior to using the animals. It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator to submit an application to the IACUC. Failure to do so is a serious violation of federal law and is reportable to the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, National Institutes of Health, and the United States Department of Agriculture, and your funding agency. It is in a Principal Investigator’s best interest not to allow this to happen.

6. Read the section on the ethics of animal use. Using animals in an ethical and responsible manner is expected at the Health Center. The issues of animals and ethics and the use of animals in biomedical research are ones that are important for all researchers and personnel who use animals to take some time to think about. It is not the intent of the IACUC to tell you how you should feel about these topics; however, it is important that information be available to the research and animal care community so that each individual can explore these topics.

7. Notify the IACUC of any unexpected study result(s) that impact the animals; including any unanticipated pain and/or distress, morbidity, and mortality. It is the Principal Investigator’s responsibility to do this within 72 hours of discovery.

8. Inform the IACUC of any animal users that will be using live, vertebrate animals. The IACUC needs to confirm that the individuals have adequate training and are enrolled in the occupational health surveillance program. Individuals must also be added to the protocol(s) they will be working on by submitting a modification to the IACUC for that protocol(s). It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator to ensure that this is accomplished.

9. Read the IACUC Connection newsletters. New documents are no longer mailed to all Principal Investigators who use live, vertebrate animals at the Health Center; they are totally stored on the web. Read the old issues that are on the website- they contain information that is helpful to you as a PI and/or animal user.

10. Read the IACUC Training Handbook. This document, located on the web, will give you supplemental information to what was presented in the initial animal users training. We are required by federal law to provide this information.

Please remember: The IACUC office is here if you have any questions. Please contact our office if you have any questions regarding the use of live, vertebrate animals here at the Health Center.