Valdosta State University Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Assurance of Compliance with Public Health Service (PHS))

Valdosta State University (Institution) hereby gives assurance that it will comply with the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (PHS Policy) through the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW).

  1. Applicability

    This assurance is applicable to all research, research training, experimentation, and biological testing and related activities, involving live animals as described and regulated under the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare and conducted at Valdosta State University, Valdosta campus, or at any other Valdosta State University location. This assurance is particularly applicable when this Institution conducts such research as a consequence of the granting, sub-granting, or subcontracting, of a Public Health Service /National Institutes of Health (PHS/NIH) supported activity. Valdosta State University currently includes research facilities only at the Valdosta, Georgia campus.
  2. Institutional Policy
    1. The Institution will comply with all applicable provisions of the Animal Welfare Act and other Federal statutes and regulations relating to the care and use of laboratory animals. (PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (10/00), 1996 Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, Report of the AVMA panel on euthanasia, 1993, and Public Law 99-158, Section 495, "Animals in Research.")
    2. The Institution is guided by PHS Policy as stated in the document, "Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals" administered by the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare.
    3. The Institution acknowledges and accepts responsibility for the care and use of animals involved in activities covered by this Assurance. As partial fulfillment of this responsibility the Institution will make a reasonable effort to ensure that all individuals involved in the care and use of laboratory animals understand their individual and collective responsibilities for compliance with this Assurance, as well as all other applicable laws and regulations pertaining to laboratory animal care and use (See "REQUIREMENTS FOR IACUC APPROVAL," Valdosta State University).
    4. The Institution will maintain a program for activities involving animals in accordance with the 1966 Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.
  3. Institutional Program for Animal Care and Use
     
    1. The lines of authority and responsibility for administering the program and ensuring compliance with this Policy are indicated in the organizational chart included with the Valdosta State University Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals to be found on the OSPRA Web Page 
    2. The qualifications, authority, and percent of time to be contributed by any approved veterinarian(s) who participate in the program are:
       
      1. Any veterinarian(s) who serves as a member of the IACUC (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee) shall have delegated program responsibility and will bring to the attention of the IACUC any procedures or activities which are not in keeping with Public Health Service Policy and the Valdosta State University Policy for Animal Care and Use.
      2. Duties of the veterinarian are expected to average a minimum of 0.05 EFT. The veterinarian member of IACUC shall be available as needed to facilitate the implementation of the Valdosta State University Policy for Animal Care and Use.
      3. Minimum service of the IACUC veterinarian member will be monitored by the IACUC and will be adjusted should circumstances warrant. Professional and academic qualifications of the veterinarian(s), who serves as a member of the IACUC, are described below in Section C.
    3. The Institution has established an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), which committee is qualified, through the experience and expertise of its members, to oversee the Institution's animal program, facilities, and procedures. The IACUC shall consist of at least five members, including an approved veterinarian, and its membership shall meet the compositional requirements set forth in PHS Policy, Part IV. A. 3b (See Appendix A for Public Health Service Policy).
    4. Duties of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. The IACUC shall:
       
      1. Review, at least once every six months, VSU's program for the humane care and use of animals, using the 1966 Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (See Appendix B for Guide) and other pertinent federal and state regulations, as the basis for evaluation.
      2. Inspect at least once every six months all of the Institution's animal facilities (including satellite facilities, if any), using the 1966 Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals as the basis for evaluation.
      3. Prepare reports of the IACUC review and evaluation in accord with PHS Policy, Part IV. B.3. Reports of every review shall be submitted to the President of Valdosta State University, or his/her designate, on a timely basis, no later than 30 days after completion of each review and evaluation.
      4. On an ongoing basis, review concerns and recommendations involving the care and use of animals within the Institution's facilities or by its personnel (including students) as they are presented to the committee.
      5. Make written recommendations to the President of Valdosta State University regarding any aspect of the Institution's laboratory animal program, facilities, or personnel training.
      6. Review and approve, require modifications in order to secure approval, or withhold approval of activities related to the care and use of laboratory animals as set forth in the PHS policy, Part IV.C. The committee shall receive all applications for IACUC approval of proposed research, proposed revisions in, or renewals of previously approved research protocols, and other activities, which involve laboratory animals.
      7. The committee shall maintain an IACUC database and log all applications into the database, make copies of each application, and circulate the applications to IACUC members for approval. Review shall be accomplished under the following categories
        1. Approved, with no recommended revisions
        2. Approved, but subject to implementation of recommended revisions
        3. Rejected, indicates disapproval of the project unless significant revisions are effected. An IACUC meeting to discuss concerns or issues may be requested. Any committee member, or the researcher, may request a meeting of the committee to consider the project.
      8. The IACUC Chair shall sign the application cover sheet to convey the Committee's approval of the proposed activity or he/she shall send a memo to the applicant indicating additional steps needed to obtain approval of the proposed activity by the IACUC.
      9. All steps in this process must be documented and logged into the IACUC database. Categories as set forth in the PHS Policy, Part IV.C include; Review and approval, required modifications of proposed research (to secure approval), or withholding approval of proposed research pending significant changes regarding the use of animals in proposed or ongoing activities.
      10. Notify investigators and the Institution, in writing, of committee decision to approve or withhold approval of proposed activities related to the care and use of laboratory animals, or of modifications required to secure IACUC approval as set forth in the PHS Policy, Part IV.C.4.
      11. Be authorized to suspend any activity involving animals as set forth in the PHS Policy at IV.C.6 for reasonable cause.
    5. The procedures, which the IACUC shall follow to fulfill the requirements, set forth in the PHS Policy, Part IV.B. are:
       
      1. Review at least once every 6 months the Institution's program for humane care and use of animals, using the 1966 Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals as a basis for evaluation.
      2. Inspect, at least once every 6 months, the Institution's animal facilities using the 1966 Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals as the basis for evaluation. Individual IACUC members may call for a full review of a program, laboratory, or the overall facilities at any time.
      3. Prepare reports of the IACUC evaluation as set forth in PHS Policy, Part IV.B.3, and submit the reports to the President of the Institution
      4. Follow-up on recommended changes as needed.
      5. Encourage individual IACUC members to make unannounced visits to the Animal Care and Use Facilities of the Institution. Members shall report their findings and/or suggestions for change to the committee for appropriate action.
      6. Have all applications for IACUC submitted to the Compliance Coordinator in the Office of Grants and Contracts (OG&C) or designated office. The Compliance Coordinator in the Office of Grants and Contracts shall develop and maintain an IACUC information system (electronic format) for logging in applications and following up on approved protocols; shall copy and disseminate all applications (as well as other relevant materials) to the IACUC Chairperson and all Committee members; shall receive committee approvals, comments, and recommendations and communicate them to the applicants. This support shall enable the IACUC Chairperson to meet, on a timely basis, the responsibilities of the position for reviewing the research protocols and circulating them to the full Committee for consent or question (as noted in sections III.D.6. and III.E.b. above). Any member of the IACUC may request a full meeting to discuss a protocol and if there are no issues, the IACUC Chairperson shall communicate to the investigator IACUC approval for the investigator to initiate the research.
    6. The individual authorized by this Institution to verify IACUC approval of those sections of applications and proposals related to the care and use of animals is the Director of Grants and Contracts at Valdosta State University.
    7. All scientists, animal technicians, and students who work in laboratory animal facilities or have frequent contact with animals shall be instructed on animal-specific care and safety procedures. In addition to a preventive focus, laboratory personnel, scientists, animal technicians, other personnel, and students shall be informed of procedures to follow in caring for animal bites, scratches, etc. Resources for dealing with potential problems include the on-campus Health Services, the IACUC veterinarian on call, and the local hospital (located less than five minutes from campus).
    8. See Appendix C for information regarding the total gross number of square feet in each on-campus animal facility (at this time, there are no satellite research facilities), the species of animals housed therein, and the average daily inventory, by species, of animals in each facility. This information shall be upgraded annually by the IACUC during a regular review and evaluation procedure.
    9. The training available to scientists, animal technicians, and other personnel involved in animal care, treatment, or use shall include instruction on:
       
      1. The humane practice of animal maintenance and experimentation,
      2. Research or testing methods that minimize or eliminate the use of animals or limit animal pain and distress,
      3. Utilization of the information service at the National Agricultural Library, and
      4. Methods whereby deficiencies in animal care and treatment should be reported.
      5. Training and instruction for new technicians and student research assistants shall be provided by existent research personnel on an ongoing basis. Training or instruction for scientists/investigators shall be available from colleagues and affiliated veterinarians, as appropriate. Instructions and demonstrations on humane care of animals and use of anesthetics for animals (when discomfort might be a factor) shall be part of the routine training. All technicians, graduate assistants, and other associates shall be required to read NIH recommended "Principles for Use of Animals" and "Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals." Scientists are asked to certify that they have read these documents and adhere to their stipulations. Experienced technicians shall closely supervise undergraduate student assistants. The affiliated veterinarian(s) shall be consulted on distress elimination and care of laboratory animals and shall provide instruction on euthanasia procedures, as appropriate.
         
  4. Institutional Status
     
    As specified in the PHS, Part IV.A.2. Category 2, all of the Institution's programs and facilities for Activities Involving Laboratory Animals shall be evaluated by the IACUC and will be re-evaluated by the IACUC at least once every six months. The report of all IACUC evaluations will be submitted to the President of the Institution within 30 days of completion of each evaluation. The report shall contain a description of the nature and extent of the Institution's adherence to the 1966 Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Guide). Any departures from the 'Guide' will be identified specifically and reasons for each departure shall be stated. Where program or facility deficiencies are noted, the report shall contain a reasonable and specific plan and schedule for correcting same. The report shall distinguish significant deficiencies from minor deficiencies. All reports of IACUC evaluations will be maintained by the Institution and made available for review upon request.
  5. Recordkeeping Requirements
     
    1. Valdosta State University will maintain for at least three years:
       
      1. A copy of all Assurances and any modifications thereto, as approved by PHS.
      2. Minutes of IACUC meetings, including record of attendance, activities of the committee, and committee deliberations.
      3. Records of applications, proposals, and proposed significant changes in the care and use of laboratory animals and IACUC action as to whether approval was given or withheld.
      4. Records of semiannual IACUC reports and recommendations as forwarded to the VSU President.
      5. Records of all accrediting body determinations, which will be provided for review upon request.
  6. Reporting Requirements
     
    1. At least once every 12 months, the IACUC, through the Director of Grants and Contracts, will report in writing to the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) indicating:
       
      1. Any change in the status of the Institution (e.g., if the Institution becomes accredited by AAALAC or AAALAC accreditation is revoked)
      2. Any change in the description of the Institution's program for animal care and use as described in this Assurance, or any changes in IACUC membership.
      3. If there are no changes to report, the Institution will submit a letter to OLAW stating there are no changes.
      4. Notification of the date that the IACUC conducted its semiannual evaluations of the Institution's program and facilities (including satellite facilities, if any) and submitted the evaluations to the President of the Institution.
    2. The IACUC, through the Institutional Official, will provide the OLAW promptly with a full explanation of the circumstances and actions taken with respect to:
       
      1. Any serious or continuing noncompliance with the PHS Policy.
      2. Any serious deviations form the provisions of the Guide.
      3. Any suspension of an activity by the IACUC.
    3. Reports filed under sections VI.A.2, and VI.B. above, as they appear in this document, shall include any minority views filed by members of the IACUC.

This Valdosta State University Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals is accepted as of 05-18-01 and so attested by the following signature:

Signed by:    Hugh C. Bailey, President
                   Valdosta State University