Agricultural Animal Care and Use Program

The Agricultural Animal Care and Use Program (AACUP) at the University of Illinois was established in July 2004 and is accredited by the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC), International. It draws on the expertise of faculty, academic professionals, and veterinarians to promote, deliver, and sustain excellence in agricultural animal care.

The AACUP mission is to:

  • Ensure high-quality care and promote health and well-being for agricultural animals used in research and teaching.
  • Provide training, educational resources, consultation, and technical assistance to faculty, students, and staff involved in the care and use of agricultural animals in research and teaching.
  • Ensure compliance with laws, regulations, policies, guidelines, and professional standards related to the use of agricultural animals in research and teaching.

Assurance of Animal Health and Wellbeing

AACUP collaborates with faculty, veterinarians, and the professional managers of the agricultural animal research units to ensure that animals are housed and managed according to the guidelines in the Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching and if applicable due to biomedical status, the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. The AACUP director serves as liaison for faculty, animal care staff, professional livestock managers, students, facility maintenance professionals, the IACUC, and others involved in the program for the use of agricultural animals at UIUC.

The AACUP Veterinary Care Program provides health care and health maintenance programs at facilities that are managed and operated by the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) or the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). Each agricultural animal care unit at UIUC has a working committee comprising the attending veterinarian for agricultural animals, the AACUP veterinarian, the AACUP Director, the professional manager of the animal care unit, and faculty or staff members that use animals at that unit. The working committee addresses issues related to animal health, planning for academic programs, facility improvements and maintenance, general husbandry procedures, and occupational health and safety.

Each agricultural animal unit has a herd (or flock) health plan that is reviewed and revised annually by the working committee and approved by the attending veterinarian for agricultural animals. Standard operating procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases are also reviewed and revised annually.

All of the stakeholders are in regular communication with each other. The AACUP director regularly visits the agricultural animal units to address best management and husbandry practices, identify needed facility improvements, and facilitate services to the animal users. AACUP veterinarians visit the units to address emerging animal health conditions and assess medical records. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) inspects each unit semiannually as required by federal laws and regulations. AACUP veterinarians meet monthly with each unit. Professional managers of the livestock units and staff of the AACUP meet quarterly as a group.

Veterinary care is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The Farm Animal Reproduction, Medicine and Surgery (FARMS) unit at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital provides emergency and routine veterinary care for animals housed at the Urbana campus. Private clinicians provide care at the two outlying stations in southern and western Illinois.


Activities of the AACUP include:

  • Overseeing animal husbandry and care of agricultural animals used in research and teaching
  • Overseeing health and provision of veterinary care at the agricultural animal units
  • Developing and implementing standard operating procedures for the agricultural animal units
  • Assisting faculty, students, staff, and others using agricultural animals for research or teaching including:
    • Preparing animal use protocols
    • Pre-reviewing animal use protocols before submission to the IACUC
    • Training in areas such as animal behavior and pain recognition; aseptic technique; euthanasia; and protocol-specific handling, medical or surgical procedures
    • Providing technical assistance with anesthesia, surgery, or other procedures
    • Developing surgical methods
    • Postoperative evaluation of the animals.
  • Assessing animal facilities
  • Developing strategies to accommodate specific needs of researchers and teachers
  • Disseminating information to animal users about laws, regulations, policies, and guidelines related to the use of agricultural animals in research and teaching
  • Providing advice on appropriate record keeping for animal acquisition, use, and disposition
  • Assisting the IACUC with monitoring protocol activities and reporting on animal use

Facilities Overseen by the AACUP Veterinary Program

The AACUP Veterinary Care Program provides health care and health maintenance programs at the following facilities.

College of Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences

College of Veterinary Medicine

Contact Information

Main Office
Room 275, Large Animal Clinic
1008 W Hazelwood Dr.
M/C 004
Urbana, IL 61802
(217) 265-6790 (Phone)
(217) 265-6774 (Fax)

AACUP Contacts

Dennis French
Interim Attending Veterinarian, Agricultural Animals
(217) 244-2702

Courtney Hayes
Assistant Director
(217) 300-5692

Sara Pearson
Clinical Veterinarian
(217) 300-0896

Kristen Massey
Veterinary Technician III
(217) 265-4962