RECOMMENDATIONS FOR EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS EMPLOYING
ANIMALS IN TEACHING OR RESEARCH
Revised December 2013
Adopted January 2009
purpose: Public interest has focused attention on animal use in teaching
and research in institutions of higher education. Questions are commonly raised
regarding the need and purpose of animal use, and institutions are increasingly
called upon to justify animal use to students and to members of the general
public. It is not possible to foresee and plan for every possible situation
relating to the use of animals in educational settings, but a number of events,
including natural disasters, long-term power outages, disease outbreaks and
contamination of live animals or their environment may occur. In addition,
institutions may be subjected to incidents of protest or vandalism relating to
animal use. When a college or university
finds itself in the middle of such an event, it is possible for the situation
to deteriorate rapidly as individuals, trying to figure out how to respond,
miss important details, duplicate one another’s efforts, or act
inappropriately. If the press is involved, reporters will try to speak to
anyone that seems to have any information. This can lead to conflicting and
inaccurate information being provided, making the institution’s response appear
chaotic. It is therefore important that the institution have in place clear
policies regarding animal use and care, and that the institution have a
well-considered policy for dealing with requests for information and with any
questions or incidents that may arise. Having a plan in place before a
situation occurs is a classic example of an ounce of prevention being worth a
pound of cure.
The Human Anatomy and Physiology Society (HAPS) recommends
that any institution using animals in teaching or research develop such a plan,
using the following as a model:
using animals in teaching or research shall establish and formally adopt an
Animal Use Policy.
The HAPS Position Statement on Animal Use is
attached. It may be used as a model for institutions wishing to formulate a
policy. In addition, other organizations, such as the American Physiological
Society, have developed detailed position statements and rationales for the use
of animals in teaching that can be used in the development of institutional
policies. This policy is available at: http://www.theaps.org/pa/action/news/animalsinteaching.htm)
Note: we have received formal approval from the APS to cite this
The policy shall be developed by representatives
of all institutional departments and units involved with animal use.
Note: in institutions employing live animals, this committee should be
the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), formally established
per USDA guidelines established under the Animal Welfare Act. In institutions
that employ preserved animals, or that do not meet the criteria established by
the Animal Welfare Act requiring establishment of an IACUC, the intent is to
allow a less "formal” committee, but to ensure that it includes input from all
departments or units employing animals as specimens. Inclusion of
non-departmental faculty and community members on the committee should also be
encouraged. The role of the Animal Use Committee, as explained below, supports
the institution’s use of animals by confirming that the use was reviewed and
The policy shall be reviewed and formally
approved by the appropriate institutional governing body (administration,
college senate, board of trustees, etc.)
Note: this is to ensure that the policy is carefully considered before
adoption, and to ensure that any policy is viewed as institutional, not
The institution’s policy on animal use shall be
included in the institution’s catalog and other official documents.
Note: this documents the institution’s commitment to the policy. Since
these documents are regularly reviewed and revised, it will also serve to
ensure periodic review and revisions to the policy.
Courses or programs requiring use of animals
shall include a clear description of such use in the catalog, with a specific
reference to the institution’s animal use policy.
Note: the intent is to provide clear notification to students intending
to enroll in a course employing animals. This also ties the use within a
program or course directly to institutional policy.
Departments or units employing animals in
teaching or research shall formulate and establish a clear rationale for such
Note: this will require some work initially, but ensures that each use
is justified and tied to institutional policy. It will also provide necessary
documentation in the event of a challenge to animal use.
to the use of live or preserved animals, a proposal for such use shall be
presented to and reviewed by the institution’s Animal Use Committee. The
proposal shall include a justification of how animal use achieves the learning
objectives of the course, the ratio of students to animals, a justification for
the number of animals to be used, the source of animals, a description of how
the animals will be housed or stored, a description of the specific use
(including experimental protocols and euthanasia methods) and how animals or
their remains will be disposed of.
h. A statement that animal use is required in a
course or program shall be included in the syllabus for that course or program
and discussed with students at the start of the semester. A summary of the
importance of animal use in teaching and research should also be included in
Note: Again, the intent is to provide clear notification to students
intending to enroll in a course employing animals.
Alternatives to such use, if available, should
be discussed in the syllabus.
involved in a program or course involving animal use should agree on the
availability and scope of any alternatives. Similarly, if no alternative to
animal use is provided, this should be agreed upon by faculty involved in the
course and clearly communicated to students. This should be a well-considered
decision, made before circumstances require it
for non-participation in the animal use portions of the course should also be
included in the course syllabus.
should be agreed upon beforehand, not invented on the fly. Penalties for
non-participation should be commensurate with the amount of material missed and
applied uniformly and consistently. Again, this should be well considered and
be made before circumstances require it.
i. Animals used in teaching and
research must be obtained, maintained and used in accordance with applicable
federal, state, and local regulations including the Animal Welfare Act (for
regulated species), the Health Research Extension Act of 1985 and the Public
Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and/or the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory
Animals (if required by the funding agency). These documents may also be
used in the training of personnel.
Safety Guidelines can serve as a reference.
using animals in teaching or research should establish an Animal Use Committee
intent of this section is to recommend that institutions assemble a committee
similar to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) defined in
the Animal Welfare Act. The Animal Welfare Act sets specific requirements for
the membership on the IACUC; these requirements (veterinarian as member, for
example) may not be appropriate for institutions using preserved rather than
live animals. See the note to 1(b) above.
using live animals in teaching or research and whose program meets the
requirements established by the Animal Welfare Act shall establish an Institutional
Animal Care and Use Committee as defined in the act. Membership in the Animal
Use Committee shall be determined using USDA guidelines.
employing preserved animals in teaching or research or whose program does not
meet the requirements if the Animal Welfare Act shall establish an Animal Use
Committee whose membership, at a minimum, includes representatives of the
experts from each department or program using animals;
individual from the general public or from a group not directly connected with
animal use at the institution
The animal use committee shall have the
responsibility of ensuring that all animal use at the institution is in
compliance with applicable policies and regulations.
The animal use committee shall also be
responsible for ensuring that faculty and institutional personnel dealing with
live or preserved animals have received training on the acquisition, treatment
and disposal of those animals.
Note: Institutions may want to establish a mechanism to ensure periodic
review of animal use.
The committee shall also be responsible for the
review and consideration of questions or appeals regarding animal use,
including requests for exemptions from such use by individuals and, in
cooperation with the institution’s academic appeals procedures, for the
development of recommendations on adjustments to grades, academic penalties, or
the recommendation of acceptable academic alternatives, if appropriate.
Note: the intent here is to provide a mechanism that will result in
appeals being considered by a body fully informed about the institution’s
policies and procedures dealing with animal use.
using animals should establish an Animal Use Incident Response Team.
Note: the intent of this portion of the model is to provide a formal
institutional mechanism for dealing with major incidents, such as disasters,
disease, formal protests, threats, or vandalism. It also provides a mechanism
for dealing with news media by individuals best prepared for such contacts. The
Animal Use Incident Response Team facilitates communication within the
institution and with the public, coordinates the institution’s actions and
provides necessary support to faculty, staff and students. The makeup of the
Response Team will vary, depending on the size and structure of the institution
and on the extent and type of animal use in teaching and research. In a large
university with extensive use of live animals, the Response Team will include
faculty and staff from relevant departments, representatives of campus
security, individuals responsible for biosafety, individuals responsible for
animal acquisition, care, and use, public information, health services,
laboratory and field coordinators and legal services. At a smaller institution,
or at an institution where animal use is limited to preserved specimens or
small numbers of live animals (frogs for physiology demonstration, for
example), the Response Team may be as small as the minimal list below.
a. The team should
include representatives from each of the following groups, at a minimum:
1. Media liaison or Public Information Office;
Individual representing the department or office
responsible for the acquisition or care of animals;
Representatives from departments or programs
b. The Incident Response Team shall be
responsible for responding to significant incidents such as accidents, natural
disasters, outbreaks of disease, acts of protest, questions, or concerns raised
by groups or organizations, and incidents involving damage or vandalism.
Note: The Incident Response Team may not
necessarily be directly involved in all phases of the response. Instead, the
Incident Response Team will ensure that responsible individuals have been
notified and that resources necessary to deal with the incident are provided.
4. The institution
should have an Incident Response Plan. The plan should set out an Emergency
Operations Plan that clearly indicates areas of responsibility and the
individuals responsible for specific activities, provides necessary contact
information and resources, and identifies emergency procedures to be followed.
An outline of an Incident Response Plan is provided below:
All individuals dealing with animals should be
aware of the institution’s incident response plan and emergency operations
Note: institutions should consider providing
incident response training to all faculty and staff dealing with animals.
The first responsibility of an individual observing
an incident is the safety of faculty, staff, and students.
Security should be notified immediately;
Security will notify the Incident Response Team.
If the situation is safe, individuals at the
site of an incident should remain where they can observe the situation and
where security can find them;
Individuals responding to an incident should
determine if others around them are safe. If injuries are identified, security
should be notified and emergency services requested.
If the situation at the site of the incident is
unsafe, individuals should go to a safe site where security can find them;
If it is necessary to dismiss students, security
should be notified of this action.
After the safety of personnel has been
addressed, the Emergency Operations Plan portion of the Incident Response Plan
should be engaged. The Emergency Operations Plan should consider the following:
communication is necessary for any plan to work successfully. All personnel
should have access to telephones. Consideration should be given to the use of
two-way radios in the event that telephone lines are inoperable.
dealing with animals and the facilities where animal use occurs should be
provided with a list of contact information for institutional security.
for ambulance, fire and other emergency services should be available onsite.
Care: Each facility using animals should have an individual plan, containing:
A description of the facility and the animals
housed there (if live animals are in use) or of the preserved animals used
Contact information for the personnel
responsible for the care of live animals and the acquisition, storage and
disposal of preserved animals;
For live animals, resources available for their
care. This would include items such as vehicles available to transfer animals,
equipment necessary to wash or disinfect cages, backup plans for providing
electrical power, heating or cooling, and food and bedding supplies;
For live animals, animal care procedures such as
feeding or exercise schedules and veterinarian contact information.
For preserved specimens, resources available for
alternate storage or disposal of specimens and backup plans for electrical
power, ventilation, heating and cooling.
Communication regarding the incident: All
communications with the press, other news media or the general public should be
routed through the media liaison representative;
involving vandalism or disruption of institutional activities should be
referred immediately to security;
should have clear policies about how to deal with acts of provocation, requests
for information, and media requests for comment, for example by directing all
such requests to the appropriate institutional official or committee. The
institution should provide personnel with training in these policies
responses to requests for information should include explicit reference to or
discussion of the institution’s Animal Use Policy
Note: In many cases, a group organizing a protest or responsible for an
incident will have notified news media to ensure their presence at the event.
In these cases, college personnel may be "ambushed” by the media. It is
important that college personnel be aware of this situation and that all media
contacts be made through the media liaison.
Incident Response Team should prepare a fact sheet as soon as possible (within
the first hour). This can be used as a press statement, even if only a few
facts are known. This will demonstrate that the institution is on top of the situation.
Incident Response Team should meet with everyone involved in the incident as
soon as possible (ideally within the first hour) to prepare a more detailed
report. This report should be distributed to all offices that need to be
informed (deans, department heads, public information office, etc.).
Incident Response Team should consider the worst-case public scenario for the
institution. Was anyone hurt in the incident? Were animals hurt or released? Is
it possible that the incident was recorded? If that happened, it is likely that
the recording will be distributed widely within hours. The institution must
quickly work to issue a response.
the first few hours after the incident, the Incident Response Team should visit
the site of the incident and interview personnel affected. The Public
Information Officer should prepare a summary description of the incident from
the institution’s point of view, which should include a statement of how animal
use enhances student learning, provides a research model, and how this may
yield benefits for society at large.
Over the next few days, the Incident Response
Keep affected personnel informed of
Arrange for a site visit by administrative
personnel (ideally the president and vice-presidents of the institution);
Arrange a meeting between involved faculty and
staff and security personnel to discuss what happened, the response to the
incident, and needed changes in the Emergency Operations Plan;
Ensure that concerns and fears of affected
personnel are addressed.
Elicit administrative support for affected
Notify funders of research or education about
the incident, Information on the incident should come directly from the
institution, not from the press.
Note: the specific recommendations above regarding communication are
adapted from "After the Attack: A Step-by-Step Plan” by Sharon Kha, Associate
Vice President-Communications-News Service, the University of Arizona. The
document has benefited from extensive review and comment from Alice Raanan of
the American Physiological Society, Dan Lemons of the City University of New
York and Torsten Hopp of Baylor College of Medicine. The Animal Use Committee
is grateful for their assistance and criticism.