Animal Care and Use (IACUC)

IACUC at York College


PHS policy stipulates that an applicant organization, whether domestic or foreign, bears responsibility for the humane care and use of animals in PHS-supported research activities. The PHS policy defines "animal" as "any live, vertebrate animal used or intended for use in research,research training, experimentation, or biological testing or for related purposes." An applicant organization proposing to use vertebrate animals in PHS-supported activities must file an Animal Welfare Assurance with OPRR. As part of this assurance, which commits the applicant organization to comply with the PHS policy, the applicant organization must appoint an institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC), which is required to review and approve those sections of applications for PHS support that involve vertebrate animals.

As an agent of the institution with respect to PHS-supported activities, the IACUC shall:

  • Review at least once every 6 months the institution's program for humane care and use of animals using the Guide as a basis for evaluation.
  • Inspect at least once every 6 months all of the institution's animal facilities (including satellite facilities) using the Guide as a basis for evaluation.
  • Prepare reports of the IACUC evaluations conducted as required by the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (hereinafter referred to as "the Policy") and submit the reports to the Institutional Official. The reports shall be updated at least once every 6 months upon completion of the required semiannual evaluations and shall be maintained by the institution and made available to OPRR upon request. The reports must contain a description of the nature and extent of the institution's adherence to the Guide and the Policy and must identify specifically any departures from the provisions of the Guide and the Policy, stating the reasons for each departure. The reports must distinguish significant deficiencies from minor deficiencies. A significant deficiency is one which, consistent with the Policy and in the judgment of the IACUC and the Institutional Official, is or may be a threat to the health or safety of the animals. If program or facility deficiencies are noted, the reports must contain a reasonable and specific plan and schedule for correcting each deficiency. If some or all of the institution's facilities are accredited by the American Association for the Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) or another accrediting body recognized by PHS, the report should identify those facilities as such.
  • Review concerns involving the care and use of animals at the institution.
  • Make recommendations to the Institutional Official regarding any aspect of the institution's animal program, facilities, or personnel training.
  • Review and approve, require modifications in (to secure approval), or withhold approval of those components of PHS-supported activities related to the care and use of animals as specified in the Policy.
  • Review and approve, require modifications in (to secure approval), or withhold approval of proposed significant changes regarding the use of animals in ongoing activities.
  • Be authorized to suspend an activity involving animals in accordance with the specifications set forth in the Policy.

No PHS award for research involving vertebrate animals will be made to an applicant organization unless that organization is operating in accordance with an approved Animal Welfare Assurance and provides verification that the IACUC has reviewed and approved the proposed activity in accordance with the PHS policy. Applications may be referred by PHS to the IACUC for further review in the case of apparent or potential violations of PHS policy. Copies of the approved Animal Welfare Assurance are available to every researcher at the applicant organization.

No award to an individual will be made unless that individual is affiliated with an organization that accepts responsibility for compliance with PHS policy and has filed the necessary assurance with OPRR.

Foreign applicant organizations applying for PHS awards for activities involving vertebrate animals are required to comply with PHS policy or provide evidence that acceptable standards for the humane care and use of animals will be met.

Reporting Requirements


At least once every 12 months, the IACUC, through the Institutional Officer, shall report in writing to OPRR

  • Any change in the institution's program or facilities that would place the institution in a different category than that specified in its assurance.
  • Any change in the description of the institution's program for animal care and use.
  • Any changes in the IACUC membership.
  • The dates that the IACUC conducted its semiannual evaluations of the institution's program and facilities and submitted the evaluations to the Institutional Official.

At least every 12 months, the IACUC, at an institution which has no changes to report, shall submit a letter, through the Institutional Official, to OPRR stating that there are no changes and informing OPRR of the dates of the required IACUC evaluations and submissions to the Institutional Official. The IACUC, through the Institutional Official, shall promptly provide OPRR with a full explanation of the circumstances and actions taken with respect to

  • Any serious or continuing noncompliance with the Policy.
  • Any serious deviation from the provisions of the Guide.
  • Any suspension of an activity by the IACUC.

Reports filed as required by the Policy shall include any minority views filed by members of the IACUC.

Investigator's Responsibility


Research investigators are entrusted with an essential role in assuring the humane care and use of animals. In activities they conduct or which are conducted under their direction, they have a direct and continuing responsibility to see that animals are adequately cared for and used. Investigators must comply with the PHS Policy, with the applicant organization's Animal Welfare Assurance, and with the requirements and determinations of the IACUC concerning the conduct of the research. Investigators must ensure that discomfort, distress, pain, and injury to the animals are avoided or minimized, consistent with a sound research design; that no more animals are used than are necessary to reach sound scientific conclusions; and that, when appropriate, animals are painlessly sacrificed in accordance with methods of euthanasia approved by the Panel on Euthanasia of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

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