About the IACUC at WesternU
WesternU’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) was established in accordance with federal law, specifically the Animal Welfare Act, which requires that institutions that receive federal funds for animal research establish an IACUC to ensure the humane use of animals in teaching and research and that any such use of animals is done in compliance with all applicable laws and guidelines. As part of its duties, the IACUC reviews all proposed uses of animals in teaching or research by University personnel and must approve of the activities before any such activities may begin. The overriding concern of the IACUC is that the use of animals in teaching or research is justified and is performed in a humane manner with the fewest number of animals that will provide the desired outcome. The IACUC also conducts semiannual inspections of all animal housing facilities and animal research laboratories under the jurisdiction of the University to ensure that these facilities meet federally mandated standards.
Animal care-related concerns may be reported anonymously.
- IACUC Policies
- Occupational Health and Safety
- Contact information for Reporting Misuse, Mistreatment or Non-Compliance with Animal Regulations
- Animal Care Unit Disaster and Emergency Action Plan
- Restricted Species Emergency Action Plan
- Backup Vet Role
- Body Condition Score
IACUC related forms can be found in the IRBnet Forms/templates library www.irbnet.org under Western University of Health Sciences IACUC – Documents for Researchers. For questions about IACUC forms or IRBNet please contact IACUCOffice@westernu.edu 909-469-5606.
From your IRBnet page: select Forms/Templates tab, then Select the Library “Western University of Health Sciences IACUC Documents for Researchers” from the drop down.
The Office of Animal Resources is under the supervision of the Senior Vice President for Research and Biotechnology and is dedicated to the humane care of all animals used in teaching and research at facilities owned or operated by WesternU. The current Director of this office may be contacted at 909-469-5610 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Director is responsible for the day-to-day operations of all WesternU animal housing facilities. Responsibilities of this position include, but may not be limited to:
- Oversight of staff members who provide the daily care, including weekends and holidays, of all animals housed at WesternU facilities according to guidelines established by the University’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
- Development of written Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
- Maintaining environmental enrichment and sentinel programs.
- Implementing instructions of the Attending Veterinarian pertaining to injured or sick animals.
- Ensuring that all persons working with animals have had the required IACUC 101 training and are properly enrolled in the Occupational Health and Safety Program.
- Participating in IACUC semiannual facility inspections and program reviews.
- Working closely with investigators to insure that animal care issues are properly and promptly addressed.
- Ensuring that all applicable regulations, policies and procedures are complied with.
- Directing the maintenance, repair and modifications to animal facilities in coordination with the University’s
- Facilities department.
- Serving as a non-voting ex officio member of the IACUC.
In addition to their animal husbandry responsibilities, the animal care staff are the eyes and ears of the IACUC to whom they report, through the Director, issues pertaining to protocol noncompliance or matters that may adversely affect the overall well-being of animals or faculty, students or staff working with or around animals used in teaching or research at WesternU.
In addition to successfully completing the on-line IACUC 101 training, the Director and staff of the Office of Animal Resources receive hands-on training by the Attending Veterinarian on the proper handling and care of animal species housed at the WesternU. This training must be repeated at least every three years.
The Director and staff of the Office of Animal Resources realize that quality animal care is essential to obtaining quality scientific data and are, therefore, dedicated to providing the highest possible quality of care.
- United States Public Health Service
- Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International
- American Association for Laboratory Animal Science
- Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare
- Animal Welfare Information Center
- American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine
- Laboratory Animal Training Association
- Merck Veterinary Manual
- Guidelines for the Care and Use of Mammals in Neuroscience and Behavioral Research
Reverence for Life
A Guiding Ethic for Western University Research
When Albert Schweitzer (1875 -1965) was at the height of his influence, he was considered the most famous and admired man alive. Schweitzer – an accomplished ethical philosopher, theologian, musician, organ builder, author and medical doctor – received a Ph.D. in Philosophy in 1899 and, a year later, received a second Ph.D. in theology, both from the University of Strasbourg. After establishing a successful career in theology and music, he changed directions at age 30, receiving a doctor of medicine degree in 913, also from the University of Strasbourg. He subsequently devoted much of his career to treating patients in equatorial Africa and became world-renowned as a humanitarian. Dr. Schweitzer was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952 for development of the reverence for life ethic. Summarized in his own words:
“Man’s ethics must not end with man, but should extend to the universe. He must regain the consciousness of the great chain of life from which he cannot be separated. He must understand that all creation has its value. Life should only be negated when it is for a higher purpose – not merely in selfish or thoughtless actions. What then results for man is not only a deepening of relationships, but a widening of relationships.”1
This ethic is the moral underpinning of our research efforts at Western University of Health Sciences. Dr. Schweitzer recognized reverence for life as an absolute ethic. This does not mean this ethic is to be applied absolutely or completely in every situation; rather, the reverence for life ethic is a goal, an ideal, for which we are to strive. Dr. Schweitzer states:
“It [reverence for life] cannot be completely achieved; but that fact does not really matter. In this sense, reverence for life is an absolute ethic. It does not lay down specific rules for each possible situation. It simply tells us that we are responsible for the lives about us. It does not set either maximum or minimum limits to what we must do”2
He goes on to state:
“True, in practice we are forced to choose. At times we have to decide arbitrarily which forms of life, and even which particular individuals, we shall save, and which we shall destroy. But the principle of reverence for life is nonetheless universal”2
Reverence for life means that all life is valuable and important and that no life (human, animal or plant) should be sacrificed without compassionate consideration of the life lost compared to the greater good the sacrifice may yield.
When a poor farmer’s wheat crop is attacked by an insect infestation that threatens to destroy his only means of supporting his family, what is he to do? When a lion is charging toward a child, what is the child’s father, who is armed with a rifle, to do? When mice are in an experiment that may lead to the discovery of new knowledge needed to cure multitudes of dogs, cats and people, what choice is to be made? Intuitively, most of us know what needs to be done in each case; yet, regardless of the decision made, life will be lost. Reverence for life posits that, though life may be lost, it should never be sacrificed in a callous or cavalier manner and that an act of potential harm should be committed only after determining that the potential greater good exceeds the harm that occurs from loss of life.
This is how we approach animal experimentation at Western University of Health Sciences.
No one at Western University wants to cause pain or loss of life during research. We recognize that each life is precious, important and valuable. It is only after carefully weighing the potential benefit against the loss or harm that occurs during an animal experiment – and determining that the potential good of the experiment greatly exceeds the harm caused by a life being sacrificed – that animal experiments are allowed to go forward. Each research protocol in which animals are used at Western University must go through a thoughtful and meticulous review by our Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). This committee includes scientists, veterinarians and one or more community members not affiliated with the University. No animal study can begin until the IACUC has exhaustively reviewed and approved the study design.
Every animal used in a study must be fully justified. The “Three R’s – Replace, Reduce and Refine”3 are used when reviewing a protocol. The IACUC determines if the use of animals in the study is necessary or if animal use can be replaced with an alternative method e.g. cell culture or computer modeling experiments. Western University’s IACUC ensures that scientists reduce the number of animals used in experiments to the minimum number needed to get meaningful scientific results. Each proposal is examined to ensure that the techniques used on the animals are refined so that the animals undergo a minimum amount of pain and suffering. In addition, the IACUC determines whether or not the study needlessly repeats previous studies; that the information sought in the study is not already known and well-established.
At Western University of Health Sciences, we are committed to following a reverence for life principle for research animals as articulated by Dr. Schweitzer: “Life should only be negated when it is for a higher value and purpose – not merely in selfish or thoughtless actions.”1 We are determined that, before animal experiments are allowed to go forward, the value of a research animal’s life is always considered and weighed against the potential good derived from a proposed animal experiment.
- Albert Schweitzer, invited lecture, Sweden, 1920.
- Albert Schweitzer, “The Ethics of Reverence for Life”, Christendom (1:225-39) 1936.
- Willam Russell and Rex Burch in “Principals for Humane Experimental Technique” London, Methuen,1959.90
Guidelines for Submitting an IACUC Protocol through IRBNet
Each Step is accompanied by a Training Energizer (IRBNet step by step instructions) and Video tutorial.
Topics covered are listed below each step.
* For further guidance please contact: IACUC Office IACUCoffice@westernu.edu or 909-469-5606
Terms used within IRBNet:
Package= All documents for review (i.e. protocol application)
Step 1) IRBNet Access: www.irbnet.org
Step 2) Self Register: New User Registration
- Create and Activate your account in IRBNet
- Manage affiliations from User Profile
- Add and submit necessary Training & Credential Records
- Maintain T&C records
Step 3) Create and Submit Project: New Project Submission
**Be sure to select the correct board for review. Western University of Health Sciences IACUC
- Access Forms from Forms and Templates Library
- Create New Electronic Project
- Design and Assemble Project Submission
- Share submission with Research Team
- Send project email to Research team
- Sign project package
- Submit project package for review
- Manage Projects from you My Projects Page
- Revise Incomplete Submission
Step 4) Post- Submission; Revisions, Annual Renewals: Post-Submission Advanced Topics
- Review Project Messages and Alerts
- Create a New Package for your Project ( Revisions, Annual Renewals, Amendments)
- Add and Revise Documents
- Complete and Submit Subsequent Package
- Perform My Project Management
- Manage My Reminders