Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) reviews all projects involving animals to ensure that they are justified by their benefits and minimize any animal pain or suffering that might occur. This includes research teaching and display of University of Minnesota-owned animals.

The IACUC regularly inspects all projects using animals and all projects housing animals along with the University's Research Animal Resources staff. RAR provides for and disseminates information on the care, health and well-being of animals at the University.

The IACUC comprises more than 18 members representing University faculty, staff, students, and the local community. Representatives from the University of Minnesota campuses at Duluth and Crookston also serve.

The committee comprises a single full review panel and an executive panel. IACUC members also serve on the Agricultural Animal Care Subcommittee. The IACUC meets every two weeks to review animal research and related issues. The Executive Committee meets as needed.

Scope of IACUC Review

The following activities are subject to review by the IACUC prior to initiation:

  • Activities with animals conducted by University faculty, staff, or students
  • Activities with animals performed on the premises of the University
  • Activities with animals performed with or involving the use of facilities or equipment belonging to the University
  • Activities with animals satisfying a requirement imposed by the University for a degree program or completion of a course of study
  • Activities with animals certified by a dean or department head to satisfy an obligation of a faculty appointment at the University, including requirements for clinical or adjunct appointments

Basic Criteria of IACUC Review

The IACUC’s overall task is to determine whether a project's societal benefit justifies any animal pain and suffering that it might cause, and whether whatever animal pain or suffering occurs will be kept to a minimum.

All proposed activities are reviewed to ensure that the following requirements for IACUC approval are met:

  • All activities involving animals are in accord with PHS Policy, the Animal Welfare Act, University and IACUC policy, etc.
  • A clear rationale is provided for involving animals and for the appropriateness of the species and numbers of animals to be used.
  • Animal living conditions are consistent with standards of housing, feeding, and care as directed by a veterinarian or scientist with appropriate expertise. Medical care is provided by a qualified veterinarian. Investigators are responsible for arranging suitable housing pursuant to the regulations and in accordance with any permits for the usage.
  • The investigator has considered alternatives to procedures that may cause more than momentary or slight pain or distress to the animal and has provided a written narrative description of the methods and sources used to determine that alternatives are not available.
  • The application includes a complete description of the proposed use of the animals and procedures designed to assure that discomfort and pain will be limited to that which is unavoidable for the conduct of scientifically valuable research, including provision for the use of analgesic, anesthetic, and tranquilizing drugs where indicated and appropriate to minimize discomfort and pain.
  • The investigator has planned for the appropriate monitoring of animals, reasonable surgical interventions, and the responsible euthanasia of those animals consistent with AVMA recommendations under specified conditions.
  • Documentation or copies of any necessary permits are included.
  • All personnel are appropriately trained and qualified to conduct the research or other activity at hand.

The assessment also includes any additional factors important in the context of the specific proposal to ensure compliance with all applicable federal regulations and IACUC and institutional policies.