Changes to Affect Individuals Using Animals for Research, Teaching

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — In response to federal requirements, the office of research compliance at the University of Arkansas is announcing two procedural changes for faculty, staff or students who are using animals for research or teaching.

The university receives U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) funding, so it is obligated to enter into an “animal welfare assurance of compliance” with the federal Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare in the National Institutes of Health.

The first procedural modification involves a new occupational health and safety program for all individuals who work with live vertebrate animals in PHS-covered facilities. Current faculty, staff and students working with animals housed in PHS-covered facilities must now complete and submit an animal worker health-screening questionnaire to the Pat Walker Health Center on campus, where it will be reviewed by a licensed health care provider.

The questionnaire can be downloaded from the IACUC website.  Please note that all individuals will now be required to wear appropriate personal protective gear, lab coats or smocks at a minimum, at all times when in the facilities.

The deadline for individuals currently engaged in approved research activities to submit the completed questionnaire to the health center is July 31. The screening fee is $40 and may be paid via departmental or sponsored project cost center, or by cash or check. 

After July 31, all new faculty, staff and students must complete the questionnaire and have it approved by the health center before they begin working with live vertebrate animals.

The second procedural change affects researchers who submit a vertebrate animals protocol to be reviewed by the university’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). The IACUC is charged with monitoring adherence to the university and sponsor policies on animal care and use and federal and state statutes and regulations.

In the past, the IACUC would review the protocol and either approve it, approve it conditionally, request that it to be revised and resubmitted, or disapprove it.

In accordance with the new assurance, the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare limits the IACUC to three findings: approved, disapproved or “requires modification(s) to secure approval.” If the protocol requires modifications, it must be approved through an expedited review process or go before the full committee. A single voting member of the committee can no longer approve a protocol that requires modifications.

The University of Arkansas endorses and supports the responsible use of animals in research and teaching. Its vertebrate animals policy is designed to ensure that animals are used in a humane, productive, and responsible fashion. Faculty, staff, and students must comply with all applicable provisions of the Animal Welfare Act and other federal statutes and regulations relating to the use of live vertebrate animals in research and teaching.

Contacts

Rosemary Ruff, director
Research Compliance
479-575-4572, rruff@uark.edu

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