Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee
This document is for Stetson University faculty members and students whose proposed or on-going training, research, or teaching (hereafter, referred to as "a study") uses live vertebrate animals. It outlines the procedure for preparing and submitting an application for a study's approval to Stetson's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).
Until the mid-20th century, no widespread guidelines for animal experimentation existed in the United States. Several groups interested in animal welfare expressed concern about the pain and suffering of live vertebrate animals during studies. The United States Congress passed the Animal Welfare Act in response to these concerns to ensure that the use of live vertebrate animals in such studies is in fact necessary and that these animals are humanely treated and properly housed and fed during a study.
The Animal Welfare Act acknowledged that, in some instances, studies involving live vertebrate animals are necessary to enhance the understanding of biological processes. Organizations that use live vertebrate animals in studies, particularly those that receive any federal funds for scientific experimentation, must establish policies that ensure that the organizations meet this law's directives.
The Animal Welfare Act pertains to any human intervention into the lives of live vertebrate animals or their natural environments. These interventions include physically handling, training, feeding, housing, or restraining such animals or altering their natural environments in any way. The only exception involves investigators observing animals without interfering with them, their activities, or their natural environments in any manner.
The Animal Welfare Act requires that anyone who intervenes in the lives of live vertebrate animals or their environments complete training provided by an institution that has an Assurance from the Office of Laboratory Welfare (OLAW). This mandate pertains to investigators, staff members and students working with investigators, and laboratory managers maintaining the animals.
The necessity of using live vertebrate animals in some studies and Stetson University's goal of conducting such studies on campus in ways that minimize the animals' pain and suffering prompted the University to prepare an Assurance of Compliance for Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (hereafter, known as the Assurance). The Federal Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) has approved Stetson's Assurance. It meets the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act (published in the Code of Federal Regulations [CFR], Title 9, Chapter 1, Subchapter A, Parts 1, 2, and 3). Copies of Stetson's Assurance and the Animal Welfare Act are available through Stetson's duPont-Ball Library.
Stetson University's Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC): The IACUC oversees the policies of the Assurance and reports to the Institutional Officer, who is responsible to OLAW for compliance with the Assurance. Stetson University's Institutional Officer is Dr. Karen Ryan, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
As a condition of the Assurance, the Institutional Officer periodically appoints members to the IACUC. This committee comprises four Stetson faculty members, a veterinarian, and two members of the broader community who have no affiliation with Stetson University. The current members of the IACUC are as follows:
- David Stock, Ph.D., professor of biology and chair of the IACUC
- Melissa Gibbs, Ph.D., associate professor of biology
- Ronald Hall, Ph.D., professor of philosophy
- Diane Everett, Ph.D., professor of sociology and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
- Dr. J. Emmett Smith, veterinarian and small animal specialist
- David Hartgrove, community representative and retired linesperson for a power company
- Renate Calero, community representative and retired office worker
The IACUC is charged with these responsibilities:
- Train all members of the Stetson University community whose studies involve live vertebrate animals to ensure that the investigators adhere to the Assurance's guidelines;
- Review all Stetson University facilities that are used to house and handle live vertebrate animals, twice a year;
- Review and approve or not approve all proposed studies involving live vertebrate animals submitted by members of the Stetson University community to the IACUC;
- Review all on-going studies and their protocols that the IACUC has already approved, twice a year;
- Review and approve or not approve any significant changes in the protocols for the handling of live vertebrate animals in on-going studies that the IACUC has already approved;
- Ensure that all handling and maintenance of live vertebrate animals follow the declarations in the studies approved by the IACUC.