FAQ

Quick Links for Animal Care and Use FAQs

Regulations

Q: What regulations, policies, and guidelines are used by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) in the oversight of the animal care and use program?

A: The following links outline regulations, policies, and guidelines.


Q: Where can I find federal opinions on animal care and use?

A: Consult the links below.


Q: What is the IACUC?

A. Any institution using animals to conduct research, teaching, or testing is required by federal regulations to establish an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). The IACUC, qualified through the experience and expertise of its members, is responsible for the oversight of all animal use activities including the review of animal use protocols and Texas A&M’s Animal Care and Use Program. The IACUC also monitors the institution's animal facilities to ensure compliance with standards and regulatory requirements.

Q: What constitutes “use of animals”?

A. “Use of animals” is defined as any activity involving vertebrate animals in which the natural life style or movements of the animals is materially altered. Use of animal carcasses, tissues, and fluids obtained specifically for research, testing, or teaching purposes are subject to review according to applicable regulations and may be determined to be “use of animals.” If you are unsure if your project involves use of animals, contact the IACUC office.

Q: What should I do if my work does not meet the criteria for “use of animals” but my funding agency or graduate proposal requires IACUC approval?

A. Contact the IACUC office, and if the work is not subject to IACUC review, a letter will be provided confirming that.

Animal Use Protocols

Q: What types of species require an approved IACUC animal use protocol (AUP)?

A. Proposed use of any living vertebrate animals must be submitted for evaluation by the IACUC. Use of carcasses, tissues, fluids, etc., of dead vertebrate animals, if the animal was sacrificed, or the animal tissue or fluid was procured solely and specifically for a research, teaching, or testing purpose, also may be covered.

Q: When must I submit a Grant Proposal with my AUP?

A. If your AUP is externally funded and a proposal to the funding agency exists, a copy of the pending or funded grant proposal must be submitted along with your AUP. A comparison of the animal activities in the grant to those  so a grant-to-AUP comparison can be performed. Each proposal routing office at this institution assigns a unique number to a proposal. Please include the routing office number with your proposal.

Q: How do I start an IACUC animal use protocol submission?

A. To submit an AUP for IACUC review, log in to iRIS. For instructions about iRIS, visit our informational portal.

Q: Who can be listed as a principal investigator (PI) on an AUP?

A. Principal investigators must have the technical expertise and administrative capacity to assume responsibility for successfully accomplishing all aspects of the project. They are accountable to the institution for the proper conduct of the project or activity, and must have the authority to ensure appropriate animal care and use. Faculty or staff members who fall into one of the categories below may be eligible to be considered as a PI.

  • Faculty and other senior academic staff who would have fiscal responsibility and whose appointments include the design and direction of research;
  • Senior administrative staff with the responsibility of design and management of projects.

Please note, graduate students are not authorized to be principal investigators, however they can be co-principal investigators under an eligible PI.

Q: Do I always need to submit an amendment for changes to my protocol?

A. The IACUC should be notified of any requested changes to your AUP prior to their implementation. Protocol changes that require an amendment request to be submitted to the IACUC include, but are not limited to, adding/deleting key personnel, increasing the number of animals used, adding species, adding or deleting experimental procedures, modifying the  anesthetics or analgesics regimen, changing housing/use locations, or any changes that affect the science of the study or the impact on the physiology of the animal.

Q: How long will it take to get my protocol or amendment approved?

A. Generally, an AUP will be approved within 30-45 days. However, this is based on many different factors such as the PI’s response to request for revisions and the type of research that is being conducted, and whether or not your AUP is called to a full committee review. Amendments are usually processed and approved within one week from submission.

Q: If I am finished with all my animal use on an AUP should I terminate the protocol?

A. If you are confident that all animal use is completed and will have no further need for animal use on a protocol, then you may terminate the protocol. However, even if you are finished using animals it is not necessary to terminate the protocol, as future circumstances may cause you to wish to continue animal use (e.g., grant funding). Once an AUP is terminated (deactivated) no animal work can be performed and no animals maintained under that AUP.

Q: What happens if my current AUP expires before its renewal is approved by the IACUC?

A. If you believe that your current AUP will expire prior to the approval of your renewal submission, you should contact the IACUC Office at 979.845.1828 immediately. At the time the original AUP expires, all work involving the use of live animals must cease and any animals being kept on the protocol must be transferred to another appropriate and approved IACUC animal use protocol or disposed of.

Work utilizing animals may not resume until the renewal protocol is approved by the IACUC and the animals involved are transferred to an approved IACUC protocol which covers the entirety of the work to be performed.

Hazardous Materials

Q: When must I obtain IBC Approval for the use of biohazards?

A. Animal users should refer to the biosafety website for information on requirements for the use of biohazards on or in living animals. All biohazards in animals must be approved before the AUP will be approved.

Q: What does the IACUC require from an investigator if a protocol contains chemical hazards?

A. The use of chemical hazards in or on living animals is a part of the AUP approval process.

Inspections

Q: Does the IACUC have time limits for storage of sterilized equipment?

A. The IACUC does not set expiration dates for storage of sterilized items. The IACUC recognizes that compromise of sterility is not necessarily time-related, but may be event-related. Evaluation of stored sterile supplies will be based on storage conditions, handling, and overall appearance of the protective packaging. The IACUC will determine the acceptability of sterilization and storage procedures based on guidance for storage and handling of sterile packages provided by the committee.

Personnel/Personnel Requirements

Q: Who should be listed on my AUP?

A. The IACUC requires that an AUP lists the principal investigator responsible for the AUP and all individuals that are involved with the care and use of animals or use of animal tissues under the AUP. All personnel under the AUP must have completed the IACUC personnel requirements prior to their involvement with the care and use of animals and their approval to work on an AUP.

Q: What are the training requirements for the personnel listed on my AUP?

A. All personnel listed on an AUP must complete the CITI online training program module Working with the IACUC. Information on the required training may be found online.

Q: What is the Biosafety Occupational Health Program and why am I being asked to enroll?

A. All personnel listed on an AUP must complete enrollment requirements for the Biosafety Occupational Health Program prior to approval to work with animals. For information and enrollment forms, go to the BOHP website.