An Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is a local working group that research facilities must appoint in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. At least one member of the IACUC must be a veterinarian with the responsibility for providing care to the animals used in research and one must be a public member not affiliated with the institution in any way other than performing IACUC duties.
Among the most important IACUC functions are to:
- Review and approve proposed activities that will involve animals as well as any significant changes in IACUC-approved proposals that may arise later. These proposals must be approved by the IACUC before activity begins and provide detailed information such as assurances that alternatives to potentially painful procedures were actively considered, that a veterinarian was consulted in the design of the project to assure that pain or distress animals might experience will be avoided or minimized and that the project does not unnecessarily duplicate previous experiments.
- Inspect all animal facilities and study areas every six months.
- Monitor the institution’s program for humane care and use of animals; evaluate compliance with the AWA, PHS Policy and other requirements and report to the responsible institutional official and federal agencies as described in their respective rules.
- Investigate concerns or complaints received from facility personnel or the public.
- Suspend an activity involving animals if the activity is not being conducted in accordance with the AWA and PHS Policy as approved by the IACUC.