Policy Governing the Use of Animals in Research and Instruction

Section I. Item 4.

As part of its responsibility to maintain the highest possible quality of research and to provide for the humane care and treatment of animals used in research and teaching, NIU has registered with the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture as a research facility and has filed an Assurance of Compliance with the U.S. Public Health Service Office for Protection from Research Risks in accordance with the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act (Public Law 89-544).

The Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies is charged with ensuring compliance with the federal guidelines, doing so with the assistance of the Instructional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and the Graduate School's Office for Research Compliance. Specific guidelines for personnel who are involved with animals are set forth in the NIU Policies and Procedures Pertaining to Research Involving the Use of Animals, which has been prepared by the IACUC to conform to federal guidelines.

Investigations conducted at or sponsored by Northern Illinois University must comply with the Animal Welfare Act implementing regulations that are published in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR); the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals; U.S.Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals Used in Testing, Research, and Training; and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

The IACUC, which is appointed by the Vice President, subject to concurrence by the President, advises the Vice President in matters of animal care and utilization in research and teaching. The membership must meet the requirements of federal and state laws and must include members who are qualified through experience and/or expertise. The IACUC consists of a minimum of six members serving renewable three-year terms, including one Doctor of Veterinary Medicine experienced in laboratory animal medicine, faculty from the major areas that use laboratory animals, one person not affiliated with the university who has concern for animal welfare, and a representative from the university's Office of Sponsored Projects. The committee is chaired by a representative of the Vice President.

Functions and authority of the IACUC include:

  1. Review of the animal care program and semiannual inspection of the institution's animal facilities, including satellite facilities.
  2. Prepare written recommendations to the Vice President regarding any aspect of the institution's animal program, facilities, or personnel training.
  3. Review and approve, require modifications in (to secure approval), or withhold approval of animal use protocols as required by federal regulations.
  4. Suspend, as may be required, any activity involving animals that is not being conducted within provisions of federal or state law or university policy.

A quorum of the IACUC is a simple majority of voting members; formal committee action requires a majority of those voting. Meetings are held monthly during the academic year and as needed during the summer, and are conducted in accordance with the Illinois Open Meetings Act.

All animal-use protocols involving live vertebrate animals (including farm animals and wild animals) conducted at or sponsored by Northern Illinois University must receive IACUC approval prior to data collection. Information on review procedures and dates of IACUC meetings are available from the Office for Research Compliance in the Graduate School.

Animal-use protocols may be subject to further appropriate review and approval by officials of the university. These officials may not, however, approve an activity involving the care and use of animals if it has not been approved by the IACUC. The above review must result in approval of the protocol before the protocol may be implemented.

The IACUC has also established an Occupational Health Care Program for all personnel who are in frequent contact with laboratory animals. The Program has been reviewed by the University Health Services and provides information on relevant health-care concerns and suggests minimum precautions to be taken in conjunction with services provided by the University Health Services.

NIU provides for the continued training of personnel involved with laboratory animals in the form of semiannual seminars and presentations by the consulting laboratory-animal veterinarians who oversee laboratory animal care. These laboratory-animal veterinarians are also available to address questions about laboratory-animal care procedures.

Approved by Graduate Council, May 3, 1993
Editorial change: September 16, 2003; July 15, 2010