The use of animals in research and teaching imposes grave obligations and responsibilities upon the users of those animals and upon the institution. Illinois State University is committed to the humane care and use of animals and accordingly adheres to the national standards for the care and use of animals. The Office of Research Ethics and Compliance (REC) and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) are charged with interpreting and applying these standards to any use of animals at the University. All individuals using animals in research or teaching are expected to share in this commitment and must accept the responsibility for understanding and following these standards and principles.
The purpose of Illinois State University IACUC handbook is to provide users with the basic information they need to understand and comply with these standards and principles. It contains a general introduction to the humane use of animals, the regulations governing the use of animals and the institutional organizations that support and oversee animal use. In addition, the handbook is designed to offer users an overview of the major issues, such as occupational health and safety, gaining IACUC approval, use of anesthesia and analgesics, survival surgery and many other topics.
Finally, it is designed to ensure that each animal user is informed about the many additional written and electronic resources and multiple training programs, which augment greatly the material of the Illinois State University IACUC handbook by providing information on specific and focused topical areas. While the handbook contains much valuable information, it is not intended to be an exhaustive reference. Readers are expected to consult other sources for details as necessary. The REC website should also be consulted for additional information.
Review of the Illinois State University IACUC handbook is required of all animal users at Illinois State University. This requirement, instituted by the IACUC, underscores the importance that all users of animals share a common knowledge as they share a common responsibility.
It is also important to note that while every effort is made to keep the information in the Illinois State University IACUC handbook current, changes in the printed version are made only periodically. Please refer to the electronic version of the handbook which is updated as necessary on the REC website.
Multiple federal, state, and local laws pertain to animal use. Amongst the most important is the Animal Welfare Act, a federal law, which is administered by the USDA through a series of "implementing regulations". These Animal Welfare Regulations specify how commercial animal breeders, research institutions and others obtain, house, maintain, use, and document the care and use of research animals. This law currently pertains to specific species of animals, including non-human primates, dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, chinchillas, etc.; they do not currently apply to typical strains of laboratory rats and mice, birds, fish, reptiles, or farm animals used in production. In contrast, the requirements of the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals apply to any vertebrate animal used in research and teaching. Also relevant are such laws as the those pertaining to free ranging wildlife and the State of Illinois Humane Animal Care, as well as laws regarding Veterinary Licensing, Controlled Substance Handling and Radiation Use.
To assist the research community in implementing the Public Health Service (PHS) and USDA requirements, the National Research Council publishes a Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, which contains detailed standards related to every aspect of animal care and use and which applies to all vertebrate animals. These standards, to which Illinois State University must comply as a minimum, describe minimum standards, provide much more specific instructions on issues related to, for example, cage size, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) requirements and specific temperature requirements than do the agency regulations.
Local implementation of the regulations and standards is the responsibility of the IACUC and REC. These groups work closely with entities such as the Biosafety Committee, the Radiation Safety Officer, Environmental Health and Safety, and Health Services.
The IACUC's work and the operations of REC are subject to oversight and review by a number of organizations, chief amongst them, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW). USDA provides oversight primarily through unannounced inspections and bi-annual reporting by Illinois State University. OLAW negotiates an Assurance with the institution to guide its animal-related activities. The Assurance allows the institution to implement its own policies and to police itself, while creating a responsibility to implement the terms of the Assurance negotiated with OLAW every 5 years. Generally, OLAW does not perform site visits, unless a specific problem is identified. OLAW rules do require that the Institution report any instances of serious or continuing non-compliance with its requirements.
Illinois State University has a single Assurance with the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (formerly the Office of Protection from Research Risks) and operates a single Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. The Assurance number for Illinois State University's IACUC is A3762-01.
The Associate Vice President for Research serves as the Institutional Official for matters involving the use of animals in research and teaching. The Institutional Official, IACUC, and REC work together to ensure compliance with federal and other applicable regulations for interpreting those regulations and determining local policy and procedures, and for developing new policy as regulations and standards evolve.
The following is just a synopsis of the 30 plus page document that is being converted into individual standard operating procedures.
The Illinois State University Animal Care and Use Handbook details the expectations for utilizing animals in teaching or research at the University. It covers many topics including the protocol creation and approval process along with animal husbandry, zoonosis, and other issues involved with the care and use of animals. It is meant to provide an overview of these subjects while individual SOPs provide the details.