6.3 Responsibilities for the Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals

Establishes policy to comply with all relevant laws and regulations governing the humane care and use of laboratory animals.

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Questions about this policy can be answered by:

1. Introduction

It is Stanford University policy that all faculty, staff, visiting scholars and students comply with the applicable provisions of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Welfare Act, the University's Assurance of Compliance with Public Health Service (PHS) Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, other Federal and State of California statutes, local regulations, and all other University policies and procedures relating to laboratory animals (living or dead). Failure to comply may result in a suspension of privileges to use laboratory animals in teaching and research activities.

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2. Authority and Responsibility for Ensuring Compliance

A. Institutional Official

The Vice Provost and Dean of Research is the institutional official responsible for ensuring that activities using laboratory animals at Stanford are humane and in compliance with all applicable external regulations. To achieve that end, he or she is responsible for establishing and enforcing relevant University policies and procedures.

B. Administrative Panel on Laboratory Animal Care

The Administrative Panel on Laboratory Animal Care (A-PLAC) reports to the President of the University through the Vice Provost and Dean of Research. The Panel is charged with reviewing and approving all teaching and research activities involving laboratory animals. A protocol application form "For Care and Use of Laboratory Animals" must be submitted to the A-PLAC for its review and approval before a project is initiated. A-PLAC is also responsible for semi-annual inspections of all laboratory animal housing areas at Stanford and a semi-annual evaluation of the overall program for the care and use of laboratory animals.

C. Attending Veterinarian

The Attending Veterinarian is a member of the Veterinary Service Center (VSC) of the Department of Comparative Medicine and has oversight authority for all activities involving laboratory animals. That individual, or designee, is a voting member of the A-PLAC. Investigators are encouraged to call upon the Attending Veterinarian or other VSC staff for guidance in protocol development and consultation on experimental procedures.

D. Veterinary Service Center

The VSC is responsible for the procurement of laboratory animals, providing housing and care of laboratory animals, providing and maintaining certain facilities for animal research such as surgery suites, overseeing transportation of laboratory animals onto or off of the Stanford campus or from site to site on the campus, and providing veterinary services for laboratory animals and veterinary consultation for investigators.

E. Department of Comparative Medicine

The Department of Comparative Medicine (DCM) is an academic department within the School of Medicine. It is responsible for the operations of the VSC and for providing education on the humane care and use of laboratory animals.

F. Department of Environmental Health & Safety

The Department of Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) is responsible for implementing an A-PLAC approved Laboratory Animal Occupational Health Program (LAOHP) for individuals working in laboratory animal facilities and having substantial animal contact (see Research Policy Handbook document 7.4).

G. Stanford Faculty, Staff, Students and Visiting Scholars

Investigators using laboratory animals must comply with the following:

  • Investigators must file a protocol application form with the A-PLAC for prospective review and approval of all activities involving the use of laboratory animals. Such uses include pilot projects and preliminary studies, whether or not they are part of a sponsored project. Approval is granted for a maximum of one year, and protocols must be updated at least annually or whenever a significant change occurs.
  • All laboratory animals purchased from outside sources must be ordered through the VSC. Laboratory animals obtained by other means must be coordinated with the VSC. No animals can be obtained without having an A-PLAC approved protocol. All transfers of ownership of laboratory animals must be made through the VSC.
  • No laboratory animal may be brought to or taken from the Stanford campus without the prior review and approval of the A-PLAC. The A-PLAC will review such requests in consultation with the Attending Veterinarian and will notify the VSC of approved requests. The VSC must be notified in advance when approved transportation of laboratory animals will occur.
  • Principal Investigators (PIs) must take responsibility for the appropriate training of their research staff in the humane care and use of laboratory animals, ensuring that they are qualified to perform their duties, and that they understand their obligations to comply with all relevant regulations and the specifics of the approved protocol. Documentation of this training may be requested by regulatory and accrediting agencies or by the institution.
  • PIs must be aware that PHS and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have specific requirements when animal use takes place off of the Stanford campus as a consequence of a subgrant or subcontract (including antibody production). Proof of PHS Assurance of Compliance must be provided to the A-PLAC whenever PHS-supported animal use activities are performed by an off-campus entity. In addition, when certain species are utilized at an off-campus site, that entity must be registered with the USDA and proof of that registration must be provided to the A-PLAC. (Contact the Research Compliance office for more information.)
  • Animals may not be housed for more than 12 hours outside designated housing areas without the prior review and approval of the A-PLAC. The A-PLAC will review any new housing requests in consultation with the Attending Veterinarian.
  • All survival surgical procedures on rabbits, cats, dogs, nonhuman primates, or other large animals must be performed in designated surgical suites approved by the A-PLAC in consultation with the Attending Veterinarian.

Any person may contact (anonymously, if they wish) the Compliance Manager (736-7065) or the Attending Veterinarian (723-3876) if there are concerns regarding the humane care and use of laboratory animals at Stanford University.

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