Investigation of Alleged Noncompliance and Animal Concerns

When concerns with animal treatment or alleged incidents of noncompliance with the above regulations are reported to IACUC, directly or via the campus veterinarian, these procedures will be investigated with the utmost concern for confidentiality and due process, without compromising the welfare of animals.

When a violation is reported:

  1. If there is animal suffering, the campus veterinarian may take any action required, including supportive care or euthanasia of the animals concerned. While a good faith effort will be made to contact the PI, this process can occur without the PI's knowledge.
  2. Once the animal's welfare is addressed, the alleged violation will be investigated by a Complaint Assessment Committee:

    1. This committee will comprise the IACUC Chair, the campus veterinarian, the VPR representative to IACUC, and a community representative currently serving on the IACUC.
    2. If there is a conflict of interest between the principal investigator (PI) and the IACUC Chair (such as same college affiliation), the vice-chair will assume responsibility for the entire proceedings.
    3. The PI and all administrators will communicate with the Chair and vice versa (i.e., there will be only one line of communication).
    4. The PI will be verbally notified of the violation within 24 hours of the report and informed of the actions necessary to correct the problem immediately.
    5. The Complaint Assessment Committee will investigate the violation within 72 hours of the report. At the end of this time, the PI will be notified in writing of the issues in non-compliance and provided with the opportunity to respond to the Committee.
    6. Once the Complaint Assessment Committee has determined the response and informed the Vice President's office, further communications will be subject to the policies of that office.
    7. In reports involving significant harm to animal welfare, the entire IACUC will meet within 7 days of the investigation to recommend a course of action. At that time the PI will be given the opportunity to address the committee. In other cases, the Complaint Assessment Committee will present the report and its investigation at a regularly scheduled IACUC meeting.

  3. The IACUC has several options:

    1. The immediate corrective response was appropriate and sufficient.
    2. Retraining of the PI and his/her laboratory staff is required, but no suspension is recommended (IACUC Chair has the responsibility for corresponding with the PI).
    3. Suspension of animal research and relearning programs for the PI and the laboratory staff.

      1. If the IACUC votes (simple majority of the members present) to suspend the PI's research activities, the Vice President for Research will be notified within one working day of the meeting. The Vice President will notify the PI and must also notify the NIH Office of Lab Animal Welfare (OLAW).
      2. A subsequent meeting of the IACUC will be called to determine if the PI has met the stipulations assessed by the committee and will vote on lifting the suspension. The PI (and the Vice President) will be notified of the results of this meeting immediately in writing by the IACUC Chair.