The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is dedicated to the task of facilitating and assisting faculty in the conduct of research, teaching, and other activities involving the use of laboratory animals. The committee consists of a minimum of 5 voting members from the faculty, administration, and community, and must include a scientist, a non-scientist, and a person unaffiliated with the university and its animal care program. The IACUC is responsible for assuring that all animal use complies with the Animal Welfare Act, Public Health Service (PHS) Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals , and the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, and all other applicable regulations, policies and procedures. Any use of animals at Augusta University without IACUC approval is a violation of Augusta University policy and federal law.
*ANIMAL WELFARE RESPONSIBILITY*
Responsibility for animal welfare at Augusta University ultimately lies with the University President. These responsibilities are formally delegated as follows:
*COMMITTEE CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY*
No member may participate in the IACUC review or approval of a protocol in which the member has a conflicting interest or is personally involved in the project. A member with a conflict of interest may provide information requested by the IACUC, but may not participate in the discussion or vote. The conflicted member will be excused during the discussion and vote and their attendance will not be counted towards a quorum. If a member of the IACUC is excused because of conflict of interest, and a quorum is no longer present, a decision on the protocol will be deferred until the next meeting. The Chair or an IACUC committee member may request that a member be excused from committee deliberations on a specific protocol because of possible or perceived conflict of interest.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) enforces Augusta University compliance with the Animal Welfare Act by conducting at least one unannounced inspection tours each year. IACUC records and the animal use facilities are examined. The Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) enforces the Public Health Service (PHS) Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. OLAW makes announced inspections of animal care and use procedures at Augusta University. Either agency can request suspension of federal support for Augusta University's research efforts if the institution is found to be in violation of regulations.
The IACUC has been given oversight responsibility to enforce USDA regulations and the Augusta University Assurance of Compliance with Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals by federal regulatory law. The Animal Use Protocol (AUP) provides the basis for compliance and IACUC approval provides the assurance. Thus, investigators must closely adhere to the AUP for every aspect of animal care and use. Inappropriate animal care or treatment (including deviations from those approved in the AUP) will be investigated by the IACUC. An AUP can be suspended by a majority vote by the IACUC, an action, which by law cannot be reversed by an institutional official. OLAW is notified of such an occurrence whether or not the project is federally funded. The IACUC will notify the investigator of the corrective actions needed to reinstate the AUP.
The IACUC may temporarily stop, or suspend any activity that is previously approved if it determines that the activity is not being conducted in accordance with applicable provisions of the Animal Welfare Act, Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare or the USDA. The IACUC may suspend an activity only after review of the matter at a convened meeting of a quorum of the IACUC and with the suspension vote of a majority of the quorum present.
If the IACUC suspends an activity involving animals, the IACUC Chairperson will notify the Principal Investigator in writing. The IACUC Chairperson, the Director of LAS, and the Veterinarian shall convene a meeting of the concerned parties. Results of the convened meeting will be sent to the IACUC for final determination. The Vice President for Research will forward a full explanation of the incident and resulting action to the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), other funding agencies and the USDA as required.
Reactivation of suspended AUPs will be part of the process in defining how long suspension will be in effect.
*VETERINARIAN SUSPENSION OF RESEARCH ACTIVITY*
The attending Veterinarian has the authority to immediately suspend IACUC approval if he or she has reason to believe that any animal is in danger. The attending Veterinarian will immediately notify the IACUC Chair in writing of any such suspension. The IACUC Chair shall call an emergency meeting of the IACUC to review the suspension.