Research Guidelines for Animal Use

This section of the Stetson University website gives the procedures members of the Stetson Community 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).

The full text of this information and the Application for approval are available for download as a Word document.

Animal Welfare Act

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.

Institutional Animal Use and Care 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:

  • Dr. David Stock, Professor of Biology and Chair of the IACUC
  • Dr. Melissa Gibbs, Professor of Biology
  • Dr. Ronald Hall, Professor of Philosophy
  • Dr. Diane Everett, Professor of Sociology and Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
  • Dr. J. Emmett Smith, Veterinarian and Small Animal Specialist
  • Mr. David Hardgrove, Community Representative and Retired Power Company Linesperson
  • Ms. Renate Calero, Community Representative and Retired Office Worker

The IACUC is charged with these responsibilities:

  1. 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;
  2. Review all Stetson University facilities that are used to house and handle live vertebrate animals, twice a year;
  3. Review and approve or not approve all proposed studies involving live vertebrate animals submitted by members of the Stetson University community to the IACUC;
  4. Review all on-going studies and their protocols that the IACUC has already approved, twice a year;
  5. 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;
  6. Ensure that all handling and maintenance of live vertebrate animals follow the declarations in the studies approved by the IACUC.

Training

All individuals who will be working with live vertebrate animals in Stetson University facilities must complete training before they may submit an application for a study’s approval to the IACUC and before they may work with these animals. The IACUC will not review applications submitted by individuals who have not completed training. In some circumstances, Stetson’s IACUC Institutional Officer, in consultation with the IACUC members, may waive the requirement for training for those investigators who transfer from other recognized sites where they have completed similar training.

The IACUC offers training twice during the academic year: once in mid-September and again in late February. The training session introduces participants to the Animal Welfare Act and its provisions, proper handling of the live vertebrate animals used most frequently at Stetson, and the potential for the spread of zoonoses (diseases spread by non-human vertebrates). The IACUC will announce the date, time, and place of training to all Stetson faculty members and students whose studies involve live vertebrate animals. Those who attend training must attend the entire session to obtain credit for having completed training. Late-comers will not receive credit for having completed training; will be ineligible for submitting an application for a study’s approval to the IACUC, and will be ineligible for conducting studies involving live vertebrate animals on Stetson’s campus.

Application for a Study's Approval for Training or Research Involving Live Vertebrate Animals

All individuals proposing to use live vertebrate animals in their training, teaching, or research at Stetson University must submit a complete application to the IACUC for review and approval. The form and procedure for submitting an application appear below. However, before the IACUC will review an application, those individuals whose studies involve live vertebrate animals must complete the IACUC training in its entirety.

Furthermore, the IACUC may require some applicants to be medically evaluated and to present evidence of a current tetanus vaccination before the IACUC will review an application. Applicants should consult the Chair of the IACUC in the early stages of project design to determine whether their health status must be evaluated. Moreover, applicants are strongly encouraged to learn about the guidelines IACUC follows to evaluate applications by reading the National Research Council’s publication Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (8th ed., 2011; hereafter, referred to as the Guide). This document is available at Stetson’s duPont-Ball Library.

The IACUC will scrutinize all aspects of proposed studies that involve live vertebrate animals, particularly if applicants propose sacrificing these animals. Because the IACUC is averse to sacrificing animals, applicants should present a compelling case for doing so. Following a study’s approval and during the course of the training, teaching, or research project, the IACUC may inspect the animals involved in the study at any time while those animals are in Stetson facilities.

To submit an application to the IACUC for its consideration, please follow the instructions on the Stetson University Application to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee for Approval of a Research Study Involving the Use of Live Vertebrate Animals. Only applications from those who have completed the IACUC training in its entirety and who submit a complete application by the announced deadline will be considered. Please submit applications (in a Word document) electronically to the IACUC Chair (dstock@stetson.edu). The Chair will acknowledge the receipt of all applications and will notify applicants of the committee’s decision regarding their proposed studies (i.e., approve, revise and resubmit, or not approve). The IACUC will approve proposed studies that indicate compliance with the guidelines in the Guide and with the Animal Welfare Act. Such approval may be contingent upon minor modifications to the proposed protocol. The IACUC may require an investigator to revise and resubmit a proposal that does not fully comply with the Guide and with the Animal Welfare Act if the proposed study can be modified to meet compliance without substantially changing its integrity. A proposed study that does not fully comply with the Guide and with the Animal Welfare Act and that cannot be modified to meet compliance without substantially changing its integrity will not be approved.

Submission of Reports to the IACUC

Investigators and faculty members supervising students whose studies last more than six months must submit the IACUC Continuing Review Form semi-annually, in late November or early December and in April. The IACUC Chair will distribute the form to investigators electronically. Applicants must return the completed form electronically to the IACUC Chair (dstock@stetson.edu), who will distribute the form to the IACUC members for review. Likewise, at the end of the study, applicants will follow the same procedure.

Other Reference Materials

Copies of the reference materials are available on reserve in the duPont-Ball Library. When available, links to PDF copies from the publisher are provided.

  • Title 9 – Animals and Animal Products: Chapter I, Subchapter A, Parts 1, 2, and 3 – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Department of Agriculture (Animal Welfare Act). PDF available
  • Education and Training in the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals: A Guide for Developing Institutional Programs. 1991. National Academy Press, Washington, DC. PDF Available
  • Occupational Health and Safety in the Care and Use of Research Animals. 1997. National Academy Press, Washington, DC. PDF available
  • Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. 2002. Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD. PDF available
  • Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, 8th Ed. 2011. National Research Council, Washington, DC. (the Guide) PDF available