Procurement of Laboratory Animals
This policy applies to the procurement of all animals (including fish and birds) maintained in Division of Animal Resources (DAR) facilities. Procurement of animals from off-campus sources or animal transfers between campus research and teaching protocols require approval in advance via the Animal Request Form. A member of the DAR staff will approve procurement after verifying that the requested species is approved for use under the protocol, that there are sufficient numbers of animals left on the protocol to meet the current request, and that the proposed vendor or source protocol has been approved. Procurement of animals from on-campus breeding protocols is tracked on the animal census sheets maintained in animal rooms.
Centralized animal procurement allows for post-protocol monitoring of animal use and ensures that animals are obtained only from appropriate sources.
The investigator submits animal request forms electronically to the DAR for animals from off-campus sources, in-house transfers, and replacement of breeder stock from a breeding protocol. Animals born in-house should be recorded on census logs in the animal room.
Rodents are usually assigned to protocols at weaning, although in instances when animals are used before weaning, they are assigned at birth. Animals must be signed out of the original protocol census and into the receiving protocol census. The principal investigator must monitor the number of animals available on breeding protocols. To avoid exceeding approved limits, the research staff or animal care staff will maintain census sheets of animals produced in campus breeding colonies and assigned to protocols.
Breeding protocols require that an Animal Request Form be approved for breeding stock, whether purchased or added to the breeding pool from offspring produced in-house.
Division of Animal Resources
DAR staff members check protocols to ensure that they have received Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval, that there are adequate numbers of available animals, that vendors are approved, and that there is available housing capacity for the requested animals.
DAR staff will contact animal vendors and place orders for the requested animals based on the information provided on the Animal Request Form and will notify the research and animal care staff of the expected arrival date once the order has been placed. When they receive the animals, DAR staff enter the number of animals assigned to each protocol in a tracking database and file the completed records with the appropriate animal use protocol.
DAR staff use the monthly animal census sheets to enter data on the number of animals transferred to research and teaching protocols from breeding colonies during that month into the animal usage database. For each approved protocol, DAR will determine the number of animals that represents 80 percent of the total number of animals approved per 3-year protocol approval period. Once this number has been reached, DAR staff will notify the principal investigator in writing.
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee Responsibilities
Members of the IACUC evaluate protocols to determine if the species and numbers of animals requested are justified; they require statistical justification when possible (NRC "Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals", 2011; page 25). The IACUC ensures that principal investigators are aware of this policy, their responsibility to request all laboratory animals via DAR and to provide protocol numbers that accurately reflect the protocol on which animals will be used.