Animal research saves animals
The College’s animal resources unit is passionate about promoting and providing optimal laboratory animal care and use as well as high-quality support services through professional management, education, and training.
They are responsible for the central management of the experimental and teaching animal resources at the CVM and provide the safe and effective procurement, quarantine, conditioning, housing, husbandry, and veterinary medical care of all animals used in research and teaching programs. They also provide technical assistance, advice, and consultation regarding use of experimental animals.
The importance of animal resources
In biomedical research, experimental animals have taken on enormous importance as models for elucidating and predicting behavior, health, and disease or for information regarding basic biologic processes. In most areas of research, there is an increasing recognition that constant, dependable experimental conditions are essential in order to obtain reproducible and reliable information. Most investigators are aware of the need for a research system with as few variables as possible, but oftentimes the experimental animal is not considered.
In a living organism, there are two basic sources of variation — genetic and environmental. Accurately defined, standardized, and properly housed laboratory animals are needed in order to accomplish meaningful biomedical research. Use of animals harboring overt or latent diseases, housed in crowded, unsanitary conditions, or maintained in an environment which results in abnormal behavioral and physiological responses certainly compromises and brings into question the validity of research accomplished.
Also, there is concern for the comfort and well-being of the experimental animals themselves. It is unacceptable to subject them to needless suffering or deprivation. Scientific, legal, and ethical considerations have prompted standards that are becoming increasingly comprehensive and rigorous for the handling, care, and use of experimental animals.
Many institutions, like the UGA CVM, have recognized that animal resources are specialized professionally, economically, and organizationally and that it is preferable to have one centralized unit responsible for all experimental and teaching animal resources.
Compliance and Regulations
The function, operation, and services of the animal resources unit are subject to the following compliance and regulatory considerations:
- Federal laws: Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and Regulations (Public Law 99-198 – The Improved Standards for Laboratory Animal Act)
These laws require certain standards of humane care and use of animals in research. Our facilities are subject to periodic inspection by US Department of Agriculture (USDA) veterinarians and an annual report is required of the CVM.
- Public Health Service (PHS) Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals:
As a recipient of PHS funds, UGA is obligated to adhere to these policy guidelines. A letter of compliance is filed annually with the Office for Protection from Research Risks (OPRR).
- National Academy of Science Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals:
This publication provides guidelines for Animal Care and Use programs. The Guide specifically addresses:
- Institutional Policies and Responsibilities
- Animal Environment, Housing, and Management
- Veterinary Medical Care
- Physical Plant
- The UGA Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC):
The Office of the Vice President for Research supports the IACUC. The AWA and the Guide dictate the activities and composition of the IACUC. Its function is to evaluate UGA animal facilities in regard to the care, use and treatment of all UGA-owned animals. The five functions of the IACUC as described by the Guide are:
- inspection of facilities
- evaluation of programs and animal-activity areas
- submission of reports to responsible institutional officials
- review of proposed uses of animals in research, testing, or education (protocols, i.e., Animal Use Proposals — AUPs)
- establishment of a mechanism for receipt and review of concerns involving the care and use of animals at the institution
- Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) International:
AAALAC is a nonprofit corporation formed by national and international health, educational, and research organizations to help maintain and advance standards of laboratory animal care. The purpose of this organization is the voluntary accreditation of Animal Care and Use programs. The primary standard used for evaluating animal care is the Guide to the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (see above). AAALAC accreditation is considered the “gold standard” for Animal Care and Use Programs.
The CVM animal resources facilities and programs are fully accredited by AAALAC.