Animal Care and Use Committee

All research conducted by either faculty or students, under the direction of a faculty adviser, and involving vertebrate animals must receive approval from the IACUC.

Research reviewed by the IACUC may also be subject to other review and approval or disapproval by officials at Samford University. However, those officials may not approve research that has not been approved by the IACUC.

When conducting cooperative research which involves more than one institution, each institution is responsible for safeguarding the rights and welfare of vertebrate animals and for complying with this policy.

The IACUC does not have the option of granting retroactive approval after research is done. Failure to obtain proper approval in advance may prevent you from publishing the results and place you and the university in violation of federal regulations.  


The Vice President for Academic Affairs serves as the Institutional Official for the Federalwide Assurance (FWA). As such, the Vice President for Academic Affairs has oversight responsibility of the University’s Vertebrate Animal Research Protection Program.

Committee Composition

The committee shall consist of no fewer than five members, and shall include at least:

  1. one Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, with training or experience in laboratory animal science and medicine, who has direct or delegated program authority and responsibility for activities involving animals at the institution (see IV.A.1.c. of the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals);
  2. one practicing scientist experienced in research involving animals;
  3. one member whose primary concerns are in a nonscientific area (e.g., ethicist, lawyer, and member of the clergy); and
  4. one individual who is not affiliated with the institution in any way other than as a member of the IACUC, and is not a member of the immediate family of a person who is affiliated with the institution.

An individual who meets the requirements of more than one of the categories detailed of this policy may fulfill more than one requirement. However, no committee may consist of fewer than five members.

Functions of the Committee

As an agent of the institution, the IACUC shall with respect to PHS-conducted or supported activities:

1)     review at least once every six months the institution's program for humane care and use of animals, using the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Guide) as a basis for evaluation;

2)     inspect all the institution's animal facilities (including satellite facilities) at least once every six months using the Guide as a basis for evaluation;

3)     prepare reports of the IACUC evaluations conducted as required by IV.B.1. and 2. of the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, and submit the reports to the Institutional Official; (The reports must meet the following criteria:

a)      shall be updated at least once every six months upon completion of the required semiannual evaluations

b)     shall be maintained by the institution and made available to Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) upon request

c)      must contain a description of the nature and extent of the institution's adherence to the Guide and the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and must identify specifically any departures from the provisions of the Guide and the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, and must state the reasons for each departure

d)     must distinguish significant deficiencies from minor deficiencies. A significant deficiency is one that, consistent with the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, and, in the judgment of the IACUC and the Institutional Official, is or may be a threat to the health or safety of the animals

e)     If program or facility deficiencies are noted, the reports must contain a reasonable and specific plan that includes a schedule for correcting each deficiency.

f)       If some or all of the institution's facilities are accredited by AAALAC or another accrediting body recognized by the PHS, the report should identify those facilities as such.)

4)     review concerns involving the care and use of animals at the institution;

5)     make recommendations to the Institutional Official regarding any aspect of the institution's animal program, facilities, or personnel training;

6)     review and approve, require modifications (to secure approval), or withhold approval of those components of PHS-conducted or supported activities related to the care and use of animals as specified in IV.C. of the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals;

7)     review and approve, require modifications (to secure approval), or withhold approval of proposed significant changes regarding the use of animals in ongoing activities; and

8)     be authorized to suspend an activity involving animals in accordance with the specifications set forth in IV.C.6. of the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

Review of PHS-Conducted or Supported Research Projects

1)     In order to approve proposed research projects or proposed significant changes in ongoing research projects, the IACUC shall conduct a review of those components related to the care and use of animals and determine that the proposed research projects are in accordance with the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. In making this determination, the IACUC shall confirm that the research project will be conducted in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act insofar as it applies to the research project, and that the research project is consistent with the Guide unless acceptable justification for a departure is presented. Further, the IACUC shall determine that the research project conforms with the institution's Assurance and meets the following requirements:

  1. Procedures with animals will avoid or minimize discomfort, distress, and pain to the animals, consistent with sound research design.
  2. Procedures that may cause more than momentary or slight pain or distress to the animals will be performed with appropriate sedation, analgesia, or anesthesia, unless the procedure is justified for scientific reasons in writing by the investigator.
  3. Animals that would otherwise experience severe or chronic pain or distress that cannot be relieved will be painlessly killed at the end of the procedure or, if appropriate, during the procedure.
  4. The living conditions of animals will be appropriate for their species and contribute to their health and comfort. The housing, feeding, and nonmedical care of the animals will be directed by a veterinarian or other scientist trained and experienced in the proper care, handling, and use of the species being maintained or studied.
  5. Medical care for animals will be available and provided as necessary by a qualified veterinarian.
  6. Personnel conducting procedures on the species being maintained or studied will be appropriately qualified and trained in those procedures.
  7. Methods of euthanasia used will be consistent with the recommendations of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Panel on Euthanasia, unless a deviation is justified for scientific reasons in writing by the investigator.

2)     Prior to each convened meeting, each IACUC member shall be provided with a list of proposed research projects to be reviewed. Written descriptions of research projects that involve the care and use of animals shall be available to all IACUC members, and any member of the IACUC may obtain, upon request, full committee review of those research projects. If full committee review is not requested, at least one member of the IACUC, designated by the Chairperson and qualified to conduct the review, shall review those research projects and have the authority to approve, require modifications in (to secure approval), or request full committee review of those research projects. If full committee review is requested, approval of those research projects may be granted only after review at a convened meeting of a quorum of the IACUC and with the approval vote of a majority of the quorum. No member may participate in the IACUC review or approval of a research project in which the member has a conflicting interest (e.g., is personally involved in the project) except to provide information requested by the IACUC; nor may a member who has a conflicting interest contribute to the constitution of a quorum.

3)     The IACUC may invite consultants to assist in the review of complex matters. Consultants may not approve or withhold approval of an activity or vote with the IACUC unless they are also members of the IACUC.

4)     The IACUC shall notify investigators and the institution in writing of its decision to approve or withhold approval of activities related to the care and use of animals, or of modifications required to secure IACUC approval. If the IACUC decides to withhold approval of an activity, it shall include in its written notification a statement of the reasons for its decision and give the investigator an opportunity to respond in person or in writing.

5)     The IACUC shall conduct continuing review of each previously approved, ongoing activity covered by the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals at appropriate intervals as determined by the IACUC, including a complete review in accordance with IV.C.1.-4 of the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals at least once every three years.

6)     The IACUC may suspend an activity which it previously approved if it determines that the activity is not being conducted in accordance with applicable provisions of the Animal Welfare Act, the Guide, the institution's Assurance, or IV.C.1.a.-g of the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. 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.

7)     If the IACUC suspends an activity involving animals, the Institutional Official in consultation with the IACUC shall review the reasons for suspension, take appropriate corrective action, and report the action with a full explanation to OLAW.

Applications and proposals that have been approved by the IACUC may be subject to further appropriate review and approval by officials of the institution. However, those officials may not approve an activity involving the care and use of animals if it has not been approved by the IACUC.