Standard Policy on IACUC Review of Animal Welfare Issues and Formal Notices of Concern

Background

 Any employee has the right and responsibility to bring forth concerns related to the use of animals in teaching and research without threat of reprisal.  This policy provides the mechanism and assurance for expressing those concerns.

Public Health Service Policy states that the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) must review concerns involving animals used in research or teaching at UNL. The Animal Welfare Act requires the IACUC to “review and, if warranted, investigate concerns involving the care and use of animals at the research facility …” This includes concerns from the public, and from university faculty, staff or students. Also, the Animal Welfare Act provides specific protection for employees, IACUC members or laboratory personnel against discrimination or other reprisals for reporting violations, and Public Health Service Policy requires conformity with this provision. The UNL IACUC accepts concerns, anonymous and otherwise to assure whistle-blower protection, in compliance with federal law.

Policy

Any individual who has concerns related to the humane handling, care and/or use of animals in teaching or research at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln is encouraged to voice those concerns to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) through any of its members or to the University Administration.

The University of Nebraska – Lincoln will not tolerate any reprisal against any individual who has come forward with concerns or allegations of wrong-doing involving the care and use of animals.  Reprisal against individuals reporting concerns is prohibited by federal law and perpetrators of reprisals are subject to sanctions.  Individuals who feel that a personnel action has been taken against them because they reported an apparent violation of animal care and use requirements, should present their case to their supervisor , the chair of the IACUC, or the University of Nebraska – Lincoln Director of Employee Relations, & Ombudsman.

Deficiencies or concerns about how animals are cared for in any of the facilities on campus or in any of the projects should be reported to the IACP office, the IACP director, AV, or any member of the IACUC. Posters providing contact information to be used in these situations must be displayed in each animal facility.

Each College / School using animals is responsible for posting this policy in sufficient numbers and locations to assure employees awareness.  Colleges / Schools wishing to add contacts from the college or school may do so as long as they include the following as contacts:

  1. Chair of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee
    Phone: 402-472-5018
  2. Director, Institutional Animal Care Program
    Phone: 402-440-6577
  3. Assistant Director, Institutional Animal Care Program
    Phone:  608-475-1340
  4. Associate Vice Chancellor for Research
    Phone:  402-472-2851
  5. Director, University Employee Relations, and Ombudsman
    Phone:  402-472-9849

The concern will be immediately investigated. The animal caretaker, principal investigator, or department administrator will be notified and an investigation will be conducted. Corrective action will be taken if a legitimate concern exists. Any concerns or actions taken will be reviewed and approved by the IACUC; final action will be determined in consultation with the IO. The identity of the person reporting the incident will be protected to the best of our ability. Sometimes this is not possible due to the nature of the problem.