Oversight of Investigator-Maintained Animal Colonies
Principal Investigators (PIs) may obtain approval to provide care for research and teaching animals housed in conventional animal facilities, laboratories, or satellite and off-campus facilities. Animal care must be consistent with care provided by professional animal care staff and must meet requirements described in the current versions of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Guide) or Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching (Ag Guide), and the Animal Welfare Regulations.
This policy applies to investigators housing research or teaching animals in university-owned facilities and to investigators housing wild-caught animals in the field or at a field station for greater than 12 h. To ensure consistency and documentation of care, the University of Illinois IACUC requires programmatic oversight of all animal care even when care is provided by PIs and their staff. Federal regulations specify that qualified personnel must provide care of animals used in research, teaching, and outreach activities. Moreover, the Attending Veterinarian or veterinary staff has the authority and must have full access to the facilities and the animals to ensure that the provisions of veterinary care and oversee of other aspects of animal care and use are in full compliance with all applicable laws, guidelines and policies.
Role of the PI
PIs who wish to care for their own research or teaching animals must provide justification in the animal use protocol form. PIs must provide a written description of the care to be provided, including names and contact numbers for responsible project personnel. This information is submitted to the IACUC in Appendix A of the animal use protocol form.
Daily observation of animals, monitoring of relevant environmental parameters such as room or water temperatures, feeding and watering, and sanitation must be documented and posted near animal enclosures. This may be a checklist or log with space provided for care providers to initial completed tasks each day. Logs should include information on receipt of new animals, daily census counts, and removal of animals due to experimental use, transfer of animals to another protocol or site, and unanticipated illnesses or death.
The PI is responsible for immediate notification of veterinary staff if health problems occur. The PI is also responsible for ensuring unrestricted access to the facility by DAR or AACUP veterinary and professional animal care staff, or IACUC staff or committee members.
Role of Facility Staff
Where the PI-maintained sites are within a laboratory animal care facility, animal care staff visit the animal holding area at least weekly to ensure that the care provided is in accordance with written husbandry procedures.
For agricultural animals, the animal care staff visits animal holding areas on a regular basis when sites are occupied to ensure that the care provided is in accordance with written husbandry procedures.
Role of DAR
DAR staff are responsible for overseeing animal care in all non-agricultural animal holding areas. Veterinary staff visit on-campus satellite holding facilities at least weekly.
Monitoring of off-campus sites is at the discretion of the Attending Veterinarian. Long-term or permanent housing of wildlife at off-campus locations may be inspected on an ad hoc basis via video calls or site visits by veterinary technicians or IACUC specialists.
Role of AACUP
The AACUP staff are responsible for providing oversight of animal health and veterinary care at specialized agricultural animal facilities where project staff typically provide husbandry. AACUP veterinarians are responsible for providing care or ensuring that veterinary care is provided in a timely manner to all university owned agricultural species within the facilities listed above. AACUP veterinary professional staff visit on-campus satellite holding facilities at least monthly.
Animal care staff and veterinary staff report failures to comply with written procedures to the PI and to the AACUP veterinarian. The AACUP veterinarian, in consultation with the PI, can determine appropriate corrective action, and may report such non-compliance to the IACUC.
The IACUC visits all on- and off-campus animal holding sites at least twice a year. Inspection is also required prior to allowing housing of animals in an area not previously approved for that purpose or not inspected in the previous semiannual inspection cycle. During visits, the IACUC may request records of animal husbandry, animal and facility monitoring, and veterinary care, including animal medical records. The IACUC may require additional oversight to ensure adequate care, and may withdraw approval for PI animal care in the event of non-compliance with this policy.
- Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Guide), 8th Edition, 2011.
- Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching, FASS, 2020.
- Animal Welfare Regulations (AWR), 9 CFR, chapter I, subchapter A.
- U.S. Government Principles for the Care and Use of Animals Used in Testing, Research, and Training.