6,512: Policy on the Use of Animals in Teaching, Research, Extension, and Testing

Last Revised: February 2010

The use of animals in teaching, research, or for cooperative extension mission is regulated by several federal policies to ensure the humane care, use and health of the animals involved. The University of Nevada, Reno supports the responsible study and humane care and treatment of animals in teaching, research, extension and testing for the purposes of advancing human and animal health. The University of Nevada, Reno supports the following overall goals: (a) to reduce the number of animals used wherever possible; (b) replace animals with other models whenever possible; (c) refine tests to ensure the most comfortable and human conditions possible. 

Researchers and others using animals as part of their teaching, extension, testing, research have a responsibility for the ethical involvement of animals that complies with or exceeds all applicable laws, regulations, and professional standards. This policy provides guidelines for such activities.

The Animal Welfare Act, the Guide for the Use of Laboratory Animals, The Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals Used in Research and Teaching, the Hatch Act, the Health Research Extension Act of 1985, and Public Health Services (PHS) policy require that institutions establish a committee, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) to oversee all use of animals in teaching, research, testing, and extension.

The IACUC is responsible for the oversight of animals (vertebrate, including wild mammals and birds) used in biomedical research, basic (non-biomedical) research, education and agricultural research and teaching programs. The committee ensures both the health and welfare of such animals, as well as compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and policies. In addition, IACUC is responsible for ensuring all animal work involving additional committees (Institutional Biosafety Committee, Institutional Review Board, Radiation Safety, etc.) is duly approved by the respective committee prior to ensuing animal work. The IACUC is responsible for ensuring the occupational health program related to animal care and use is in compliance with PHS standards to ensure the health and safety of university employees and students using animals or animal tissues in education, research, extension, testing.

To conduct this responsibility effectively, the president of the University has appointed the vice president for research as the Institutional Official to ensure that the IACUC is appropriately supported. The Institutional Official has the authority to act for the institution and to assume, on behalf of the institution, the obligations imposed by federal, state, and local regulations pertaining to the use of animals in teaching, research, extension and testing. However, the Institutional Official or other organizational officials may not approve the use of animals for teaching, research, extension, or testing that have not been previously approved by the IACUC.

Federal laws and policies require that IACUC members be properly trained (initially and continuing). IACUC approval is required before any studies/projects involving animals may be initiated. IACUC conducts on-going review and monitoring of approve studies/projects.

The IACUC Chair is designated by the Institutional Official. IACUC members are appointed by the Institutional Official. Membership will be reviewed annually to determine that the appropriate expertise is present on the IACUC to address the animal activities being submitted for approval. Each member will serve three years with the opportunity for re-appointment. Vacancies within IACUC will be evaluated by the current chair of IACUC and the Institutional Official to determine appropriate replacement(s). Once an IACUC member is selected the Institutional Official sends an appointment letter. Once the appointment is official, the IACUC member will meet with the Attending Veterinarian and/or IACUC Chair or their designee for new member training. All IACUC members are expected to attend and participate in all IACUC meetings and to conduct thorough evaluation of the proposed protocols for the use of animals assigned to them by the chair of the IACUC.

The IACUC has the authority to approve, require modifications or disapprove all teaching, research, extension, and testing use of animals conducted under the auspices of the university and its affiliates. 

The Standard Operating Procedures on file with the Chair of IACUC and the Institutional Official provide details regarding: (a) training/qualifications;  (b) membership terms, qualifications, responsibilities; (c) committee meeting attendance; (d) protocol review (protocol approval, amendment, periodic review, facility inspection, suspensions and adjudication of disputes); and (e) minutes of meetings.