Institutional Animal Care Program (IACP)
Administrative oversight of the care and use of animals in research, teaching and outreach at UNL is federally mandated by the Animal Welfare Act, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, and the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Because some research conducted at UNL is funded by the NIH, UNL also must have on file an NIH-approved Public Health Service Animal Welfare Assurance Document on the humane care and use of animals.
Oversight responsibility at UNL involves cooperative integrated activities of the Institutional Official (IO), the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and the Institutional Animal Care Program (IACP) staff. These entities jointly support use of animals by faculty and staff in pursuit of the missions of the university. The UNL vice chancellor for research and economic development has delegated overall responsibility for the animal care program to the IO, currently the associate vice chancellor for research.
The IACUC is responsible for review of animal use protocols; semiannual review of the animal care program and animal facilities inspections; review of concerns involving the care and use of animals; investigation of unexpected outcomes; and compliance with the Animal Welfare Act and Regulations, the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (8th edition), the Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching (3rd edition), and UNL’s PHS Assurance Document. The IACUC, in coordination with the IO, investigates suspension of animal use and concerns about the care and use of animals, while keeping the appropriate unit administrator informed.
IACP Staff Responsibilities
IACP staff members include the director, attending veterinarian (AV), compliance and training coordinator, veterinary technician and administrative assistant. The IACP director and the attending veterinarian (AV) report directly to the IO. The IACP director, AV or IACUC chair all have the authority to immediately stop unacceptable activities in the use of animals or take other measures necessary to assure well-being of the animals.
The director is responsible for overseeing the animal care program in a manner that supports the IACUC. The IACP director’s oversight authority is implemented through open access to all animal facilities by IACP personnel, on an as-needed basis. The director also serves as the primary contact between UNL and the federal agencies responsible for oversight of animal care and use.
The AV is a member of the IACUC, responsible for overseeing animal health at all campus facilities and collaborating with private practice veterinarians to service outstate facilities. The AV reviews daily animal care records, regularly visits and observes animals and facilities, and advises animal facility managers and PIs regarding animal care and well-being, clinical diagnosis, treatment and euthanasia, if needed. The AV has final authority in determining course of action in animal welfare decisions and can overrule a facility manager or unit administrator. The AV also is authorized to act on behalf of the IACP director in his/her absence. The AV also participates in training programs, conducts surgical and diagnostic procedures, manages the university-wide rodent sentinel and quarantine program, and consults with all research faculty members prior to IACUC review and approval of their proposed use of animals.
Training and Compliance Coordinator
The IACP training and compliance coordinator is a voting IACUC member. Her/his primary duties are to provide general regulations training, which is required for any employee having direct contact with animals; provide animal handling and procedures training; and keep on file all training documentation forms (TDF), which must be submitted before an individual engages in animal contact activities. The training and compliance coordinator also helps faculty and staff submit the application to use animals form (AUAF) through the NUgrant IACUC projects module, and organizes and assists with animal facilities inspections and reports.
The veterinary technician coordinates purchase of animals from approved commercial vendors, helps the AV manage the rodent sentinel and quarantine programs, obtains health status information required for transfer of animals to and from UNL facilities when required, and coordinates transportation arrangements for those animals. The veterinary technician assists with daily care of animals housed in the Life Sciences Annex (LScA), training and procedure activities, and review of animal use protocols. The veterinary technician also serves as an IACUC alternate member when the compliance and training coordinator is not available for IACUC meetings.
Facility issues causing animal care deficiencies are reported to the IACUC and addressed by the IACP staff at the facilities level with the appropriate animal care personnel, if possible. The IACP director reports unresolved facility and animal care deficiencies to the IO, IACUC chair, and deans/department chairs and assists in resolution of the deficiencies.
The IACP director also manages the LScA, an animal research core facility located on East Campus and available to all UNL faculty members. The LScA is operated at a BSL-2 level of biosecurity/biosafety to accommodate rodent, laboratory animal and agricultural animal research. Renovations of the north and east wings are currently in progress and expected to be completed by the end of July 2013. The recently renovated west wing and the south wing provide animal housing and procedure rooms. The facility also contains surgery and necropsy rooms, locker rooms and a conference room located within the new office space in the west wing. Those interested in using the facility should contact Kelly Heath at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the IACP office at 402-472-4486.