The UMass Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) reviews all classroom and research projects, whether sponsored or unsponsored, involving the use of living non-human vertebrate animals, or animals killed for the purposes of the study, to ensure the humane care and use of animals including, but not limited to, the following:
- Classroom exercises and demonstrations that use animals for a short period or animals visiting campus should use the following form.
- Research projects including student projects.
- University-approved research by investigators not affiliated with the university who propose to involve university personnel and/or funding channeled though UMass Amherst for a proposed research project
Projects involving dead animals killed for purposes other than the study should be reported to the IACUC but do not need a protocol
Categories of Animal Use
Animals from Non-Conventional Sources
When an animal is brought to campus from a non-conventional source (i.e. any source other than an approved vendor) there is a chance the animal is harboring either an animal or zoonotic disease even though it appears healthy. "Non-conventional" sources of animals include wild-caught, non-approved vendors, and other institutions. A Principal Investigator who plans to bring such animals to campus must complete Appendix AS (add link) as an attachment to either an IACUC protocol or addendum. Appendix AS must be reviewed and approved by the IACUC, Animal Care Director, Attending Veterinarian and the Biosafety Officer. If animals to be shipped from other institutions have received a recent and documented health screening at the place of origin, this may be acceptable evidence that the animals are healthy. In all other cases the animals will need to be quarantined and screened in the UMass animal care facilities to ensure they are free of animal and zoonotic diseases. Animals may not be used for research projects until they are clear of quarantine.
Because UMass Amherst is covered by an Animal Welfare Assurance it must comply with PHS Policy, which does not distinguish between field studies and laboratory studies. Before a field study can start the PI must submit a protocol for the study for IACUC review and the IACUC must approve it. All personnel listed on a field study protocol must take the training for researchers who work with wildlife.
Use of Animals at Other Institutions
If biomedical animal research activities involving UMass personnel are conducted at domestic or foreign sites other than UMass Amherst and its satellite facilities, the IACUC must review that PHS policies are being followed. The IACUC, at its discretion, may:
- Accept the other institution's IACUC approval, especially if the performance institution holds a current Assurance with OLAW or is AAALAC certified.
- Conduct its own review of the protocol from the other institution.
- Conduct its own review of the project submitted on the UMass protocol form.
In any case, the UMass IACUC will need to see documentation from the other institution that its institution's IACUC has reviewed and approved the project before giving its final approval. In many cases an Inter-Institutional Agreement (IIA) is completed. This is initiated in the Research Compliance Office. Please see the policy on collaborative work: http://www.umass.edu/research/policy/iacuc-policy-collaborative-work.
Use of Animals at Foreign Institutions
International collaborations conducted at a foreign institution that use laboratory animals must be reviewed by the UMass IACUC if the funding for the project flows through this institution. For PHS-funded projects, the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) at NIH requires that the host foreign institution has a "Foreign Assurance" approved by OLAW. A list of foreign institutions with Foreign Assurances and their Assurance numbers can be found on the OLAW website. If the foreign institution does not already have a Foreign Assurance with OLAW it will need to obtain one. The process begins once funding confirmation has been received. For more information call Alison Miller at (413) 545-5204.
Off-Campus Internships and Employment that Involve the Use of Live Animals
There are many opportunities for students to participate in internships or find summer employment at facilities that work with live animals. These include zoos, animal shelters and rescue organizations, and farms among others. Students may or may not receive UMass credit for internships. The IACUC does not need to review a student's activities involving live animals when:
- That activity does not involve any change in the activities associated with the care of these animals (i.e., the student's activities do not involve a change in the usual routine for the animals).
- The student is supervised by a person with appropriate expertise who has overall responsibility for the care and husbandry of the animals.