Section: Research
Policy Number: 6-13
Policy Name: The Use of Animals in Research, Teaching and Testing
Date: November 3, 2003; September 6, 2005; January 18, 2008; August 11, 2008; June 18, 2010




    To insure the humane care and use of vertebrate animals used in research, teaching and testing at the University of Delaware.


  1. University Responsibility

    The Provost of the University of Delaware has appointed the Associate Provost for Research as Institutional Official for animal care and use. This person is authorized to legally certify on behalf of the University that requirements of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA; 7 U.S.C. 2131) and the University's Public Health Service (PHS) Animal Assurance Statement (PHS Policy on the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, P.L. 99-158, Health Research Extension Act of 1985) are being met.


  3. Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
  4. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is a federally mandated committee which oversees the use of live, non-human vertebrate animals in all biomedical and ecological research, teaching and testing performed by University employees, or by users of the University's animal facilities, or on University owned animals housed at non-University operated sites. As a federally mandated committee, University policy for committees is followed unless it contradicts federal regulations, or is not in the best interest of the University and its employees as determined by the IACUC, the Associate Provost for Research and the Provost.

    The University requires that all projects using non-human vertebrate animals in biomedical or ecological research, teaching and testing are reviewed and approved by the IACUC, which is constituted according to the PHS Policy on the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

    The composition of an IACUC must at minimum include a:

      1. Chairperson;
      1. Doctor of Veterinary Medicine; with training or experience in laboratory animal science and medicine, who has direct or delegated program responsibility for activities involving animals at the research facility;
      1. Non-affiliated public member to represent general community interests in the proper care and use of animals. Public members are not laboratory animal users, not affiliated with the institution, or member of the immediate family of a person who is affiliated with the institution;
      1. Practicing scientist experienced in research involving animals;
      1. Member whose primary concerns are in nonscientific area.


      The committee may not consist of less than five members.

      The responsibilities of the IACUC are to:

      1. Review all requests for use of live non-human vertebrate animals for any activity at the University as specified in the regulations and University policy. The IACUC is the only body which may approve a protocol for animal care and use. Neither the Institutional Official, nor any other officer of the University, may approve a protocol for animal care and use which the IACUC has not previously approved. The IACUC is authorized by regulation to suspend or withhold approval of any activity involving animals which is not in accordance with Federal regulations or University policy. In addition, the Institutional Official or Provost of the University may prohibit any protocol for animal use from being implemented.
      1. Conduct semi-annual review of the University's program for humane care and use of animals including an inspection of the animal facilities and all policies. A report of this review is submitted to the Institutional Official.
      1. Review and investigate all concerns involving the care and use of animals at the University resulting from public compliants or reports of non compliance by University personnel.
      1. Recommend corrective action as required to the Institutional Official and to those whose operation does not meet protocol guidelines.


  5. Principal Investigator Responsibility
  6. University Investigators (hereafter referred to as the Principal Investigator; PI) planning research projects, other than those with solely agricultural applications, involving non-human vertebrate animals must complete and have approved an Animal Care and Use Protocol. The application must contain the following information:

      • The title of the project and the PI's name and contact information including emergency phone numbers.
      • Funding sources.
      • Names of all personnel who will be involved in the handling and use of the laboratory animals.
      • Justification for the species and number of animals to be used. Whenever possible, the number of animals to be used should be justified statistically.
      • Availibility or approprateness of alternatives; the use of less-invasive procedures, other species, isolated organ preparations, cell or tissue culture, or computer simulation.
      • Description of the training and experience of personnel in the procedures used.
      • Unusual housing and husbandry requirements.
      • Appropriate sedation, analgesia, and anesthesia methods.
      • Evidence that the proceed work is not an unnecessary duplication of other experiments.
      • Description of major operative procedures; if multiple major operative procedures are planned, justification for these must be included.
      • Criteria and process for timely intervention, removal of animals from study, or euthanasia if painful or stressful outcomes are anticipated.
      • Description of post-procedure care.
      • Methods for euthanasia or other disposition of animals.
      • Methods to ensure safety within the working environment for personnel.
  7. Veterinary Care

    The Attending Veterinarian is responsible for animal care at all University facilities having primary responsibility for the health and care of all animals housed on the campus, all satellite facilities, and field projects. The Attending Veterinarian also serves as a resource for individuals wishing to utilize live animals in research, testing, and teaching. Consultation on tranquilizer, analgesic, anesthetic and euthanasia agent selection is available. Training on regulations and University policy, alternatives to the use of live animals, and assistance in all animal handling, treatment and surgical procedures is also available. A qualified laboratory animal veterinarian is available for emergencies.

  8. Problem Resolution

    It is the responsibility and charge of the PI, facility staff, Attending Veterinarian, and IACUC to assure the well-being and humane treatment of all animals used for research, teaching and testing at the University. The Attending Veterinarian has authority to immediately stop any animal procedure when it is determined to be detrimental to the health and well-being of the animals involved and/or was not specified in an approved protocol. Such issues must be reviewed by the IACUC and resolved before the procedure will be allowed to continue.

  9. Personnel Qualifications
    1. Animal Care Personnel are required to participate in training programs provided in-house. They are also encouraged to participate in the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) training program.
    1. Students employed to work in the facility must be trained for the species for which they are responsible by reviewing reference material provided and one-on-one training with senior laboratory animal technicians, the Facility Manager and/or the Attending Veterinarian.
    1. Investigators and Laboratory Assistants are reponsible for utilizing humane and scientifically acceptable practices. Persons using laboratory animals must be qualified through specific training and/or experience to perform anesthesia, surgery or other experimental manipulations.
    1. Special qualifications are needed for personnel using hazardous agents (see other policies as they relate to the specific University Safety Committees).


  1. Personal Hygiene
    1. Appropriate protective clothing must be worn when handling animals or when opening or cleaning cages.
    1. Eating, drinking, smoking, applying cosmetics, or applying contact lenses in an animal care facility is prohibited.
    1. Training in zoonoses (diseases transmissible from animals to humans), personal hygiene, animal bites, allergies, reporting of illnesses and suspected health hazards, and how to handle emergencies must be maintained current.

  2. Issues or Concerns Involving Animal Abuse

    The University holds to the policy of providing at all times humane care and treatment of animals used in biomedical and ecological research, teaching and testing. Concerns or allegations of misconduct or mistreatment should be directed to either the Office of Laboratory Animal Medicine or the Associate Provost for Research. These matters may be addressed anonymously. All concerns or allegations will be investigated. Violation of animal welfare laws will be directed to the IACUC and appropriate University Officials for further action.

For further information, please contact

Submitted by: Research Office